Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, 23, whose body was found Saturday morning, June 21, 2008, in a Fayetteville, N.C., motel room. Police have ruled the death suspicious. A former commander says the pregnant soldier was excited to be mother. (AP PHOTO)
(CBS/AP) Officials at Fort Bragg are investigating why a pregnant soldier who was found dead this week in a local motel wasn't reported missing after she was absent from a formation.
The body of Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, 23, was identified Tuesday, two days after she was found dead. Police in the North Carolina city of Fayetteville have called the death suspicious, but few details have been released.
Maj. Angela Funaro, a Fort Bragg spokeswoman, said Wednesday that Army regulations would have required that Touma be reported as absent without leave 24 hours after missing a formation on June 16.
"We're shocked, first and foremost. It's always sad when you lose a soldier. And on top of that, here's a beautiful young woman who is seven months pregnant. It's sad, and deeply troubling," Funaro said.
Authorities said in a statement that they do know not the cause of death, and an autopsy is to be performed.
Funaro said Touma, who was from Cold Spring, Ky., arrived at Fort Bragg from Germany, where she had been assigned for the past three years as a dental specialist.
A barracks room was provided for Touma, Funaro said, but she decided to pay for a motel room instead.
CBS News affiliate WCSC-TV reports that other Fort Bragg officials say Touma was allowed to live in a hotel at their expense until barracks space was provided.
Her former husband, El Sayed Touma, an Egyptian native who served in the U.S. military and now lives in Charleston, S.C., said the Army had told her family she was absent without leave.
"She was left in the room for two days, and the Army said she was AWOL. They didn't even bother to go check on her in the motel where she stayed," he complained.
Touma says he is not the father of Megan's baby, but that the couple had stayed friends following their 2007 divorce and Megan wanted to name her baby after him, WCSC reports.
Touma has not been contacted by police, but said he is willing to help them in any way he can.
Spc. Touma's family declined comment from their home in Kansas, said Deb Skidmore, a spokeswoman at Fort Riley.
Megan Touma is the second pregnant service member to die in North Carolina this year. Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was found dead near Camp Lejeune in January. A fellow Marine, Cpl. Cesar Laurean, has been charged in her death and is awaiting extradition from Mexico.
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