FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) _ A soldier who went missing for four days after a solo navigation exercise died of hyperthermia and dehydration, according to autopsy results released Wednesday.
The body of Sgt. Lawrence G. Sprader, 25, was found Tuesday night in a brushy area on the Central Texas Army post's training ground, said Eddy Howton, Fort Hood's director of emergency services. About 3,000 people, including soldiers, covered more than 30 square miles searching for him in 90-degree heat.
A brief report on the autopsy, conducted at the Southwestern Institute of Forensics Sciences at Dallas, was released by a Bell County justice of the peace. The report did not provide further details.
Officials have said Sprader had two canteens of water, a water backpack and two Meals Ready To Eat when he left. His body was found near plenty of drinking water from creeks and other sources, said Robert Volk, Fort Hood's chief game warden.
Officials do not suspect foul play, said Lt. Col. Carter Oates, commander of the 11th MP Battalion, Criminal Investigations Division, where Sprader was assigned.
Sprader disappeared Friday during the exercise testing basic map-reading and navigation skills in a rugged exercise area at the sprawling central Texas post.
Officials declined to answer questions about whether there were signs of distress that might indicate how Sprader died, saying all that is under investigation. Eddy Howton, Fort Hood's director of emergency services, said he did not know if searchers found anything that would indicate how long Sprader had been dead.
Commanders said that when they reached Sprader on his phone late Friday _ the last time anyone spoke to him _ he was determined to finish the exercise and did not indicate he was ill or distressed.
``He was a model soldier. He had a goal to succeed,'' Oates said.
Sprader was one of nearly 320 noncommissioned officers taking part in a two-week leadership course. Nine other soldiers got lost during the three-hour exercise, but all except Sprader got back to the rally point safely by following the sound of a siren that blasts when time is up, said Col. Diane Battaglia, a III Corps spokeswoman at Fort Hood.
Post officials said no other soldier had ever been lost on the heavily used range long enough to prompt such a huge search.
Sprader had returned from an Iraq deployment in September and worked in the criminal investigation division of Fort Hood. The Prince George, Va., soldier had no orders for redeployment to the war zone.