A pregnant soldier was declared AWOL after failing to report back to the Army because she was dead, her ex-husband said on Wednesday.
The body of Spc. Megan Lynn Touma, 23, was identified Tuesday, three days after being found decomposing in a bathtub at the Fairfield Inn in Fayetteville, N.C., over the weekend. Police called the death suspicious but released few other details.
Touma's ex-husband, El Sayed Touma, who lives in Charleston, S.C., told FOX affiliate WRAL that the Army failed to check on her before considering her 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. I mean the Army knows that she stayed in that hotel," El Sayed Touma said.
The two met at Fort Drum, N.Y., when both were stationed there. They were married for three years but divorced when the stress of living in separate countries became too much for them, WRAL reported.
Meanwhile, Fort Bragg officials said Wednesday they were investigating why Megan Lynn Touma wasn't reported missing after she was absent from a formation.
"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," said Maj. Angela Funaro, a Fort Bragg spokeswoman.
Authorities said in a statement that they do know not the cause of death.
The State Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill said it has received Touma's body, but it was unclear when an autopsy report would be released.
She signed into Fort Bragg's 19th Replacement Company on Thursday, June 12, at 2 a.m. and attended two required formations at 6:15 a.m. and 3 p.m. Touma was off the next day.
When she missed a formation Monday, June 16, she wasn't reported absent without leave after 24 hours, in accordance with Army regulations.
Funaro said the Army was investigating why the procedures weren't followed.
Touma arrived at Fort Bragg less than two weeks ago from Germany, where she had been assigned for the past three years as a dental specialist.
The replacement company's processing of new soldiers arriving at the post typically lasts between five and eight days, after which they're assigned to a unit. Touma was going to be assigned to a Fort Bragg dental clinic. A barracks room was provided for Touma, but she decided to pay for a hotel room instead, Funaro said.
Touma's family has declined comment from their home in Kansas, said Deb Skidmore, a spokeswoman at Fort Riley, about 55 miles west of Topeka, Kan.
"They ask that everyone leave them alone and let them grieve," Skidmore said.
The Fayetteville Police Department is investigating the death because Touma's body was found off-post, and the military is cooperating, Funaro said. The Army Criminal Investigation Command is also looking into the case, Funaro said, but calls to the command went unanswered Wednesday.
Col. John W. Etzenbach, her former commander in Germany, said he will remember Touma as selfless, outgoing and loyal. She was "lighthearted" and was "ecstatic" about becoming a mom.
Etzenbach said many of the soldiers in the unit and patients at the clinic relied on her sense of humor to get through hard times.
"Patients who visited the dental clinic frequently complimented her for helping to lighten their spirits during dental clinic visits," he said.
Touma's friends in Kentucky said she was outgoing and energetic, an avid runner from a military family who joined the Army shortly after graduating from high school.
She was "just a sweetheart, always full of energy," friend Connie Nelson told WKRC-TV in Cincinnati, just north of Touma's home town in Kentucky. "I can't imagine anything terrible like this happening to Megan. She was an awfully good kid."
Another friend, Hope Hamlet, added: "She loved to meet people. She loved laughing. She'd just do anything to make anybody smile."
Touma is the second pregnant service member to die under suspicious circumstances in North Carolina in recent months. Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was reported missing and later 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.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.