Fort Hood soldier arrested in 2019 murder of woman found dead at hotel

A Fort Hood soldier has been arrested in the slaying of a woman found dead at a Texas hotel last year.



a sign on the side of a road: A Fort Hood soldier has been arrested in connection with the 2019 killing of 32-year-old Chelsea Lynell Cheatham in Killeen, Texas, according to a news release from the Killeen Police Department.


© Jack Plunkett/FRE
A Fort Hood soldier has been arrested in connection with the 2019 killing of 32-year-old Chelsea Lynell Cheatham in Killeen, Texas, according to a news release from the Killeen Police Department.

Cory Grafton, an active-duty soldier assigned to the Texas base, was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with felony first-degree murder in connection with death of 32-year-old Chelsea Lynell Cheatham, according to a statement from the Killeen Police Department.

The 20-year-old was being held on $1 million bond and remained behind bars on Thursday, CNN reported.

Police were responding to a Days Inn motel in Killeen on June 3, 2019 when they found Cheatham unconscious and not breathing. Authorities attempted to revive her, but she was pronounced dead on the scene.

Initially, it was unclear whether Cheatham died of natural causes, but a recent autopsy labeled her death a homicide.

The case went unsolved for more than year until Texas Rangers — which recently received a grant for DNA testing — approached local authorities about analyzing genetic evidence from the crime scene.

DNA found on the victim was linked to Grafton and one of his co-workers told investigators he confessed to slaying.

Police said that a witness also was able to place Grafton at the hotel the night of the murder.

Authorities have not yet revealed a motive in the case and it’s unclear whether Grafton and Cheatham knew each other.

“We confirm that Spc. Corey L. Grafton is an active duty Soldier assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood,” Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam told CNN. He said military records listed Grafton’s first name as Corey, but police and jail records list it as Cory.

“The unit continues to cooperate with the Killeen Police Department and the Texas Rangers.”

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