Cory Latrell Grafton on DNA evidence killed Chelsea Lynell Cheatham

Fort Hood soldier charged with murder in Texas hotel

Cory Latrell Grafton, 20, kept $1 M in Bell County

A Fort Hood soldier was charged with murdering a woman who was found in a Texas hotel last summer, police said.

Cory Latrell Grafton
Cory Latrell Grafton

Cory Latrell Grafton, 20, was arrested Tuesday after DNA traces discovered on the body of 32-year-old Chelsea Lynell Cheatham was found matching the active-duty soldier at the Texas Army base, police said Wednesday, ending a year-long slaying probe.

"Through the investigation, officers with the Homicide Squad obtained evidence from a source that [Grafton] was on the scene when [Cheatham] was murdered," officials said.

Police found Cheatham unconscious at a Days Inn in Killeen in June 2019 after contacting a woman who was not receptive. Officers and paramedics launched life-saving attempts but were pronounced dead about an hour later , police said.

Whether Cheatham succumbed to natural causes at the time was unknown, sparking a death investigation. An investigation later found her death a suicide, although police did not release the woman's cause of death.

Grafton stayed in Bell County on Thursday's $1 million bond, online reports. It's uncertain whether an attorney's hired.

Fort Hood officials stated to CNN that Grafton is a soldier officially attached to the 1st Cavalry Division. Military documents list Grafton's first name as Corey, but in police and prison records he is known as Cory, Chris Brautigam said.

"The team continues to collaborate with Killeen Police Department and Texas Rangers," Brautigam said to CNN.

Meanwhile, one of Grafton's co-workers told the Texas Department of Public Safety he admitted to shooting, the Daily Beast posted.

The Sexual Harassment Kit Initiative scheme, which uses sophisticated DNA testing to crack cold crimes, originally named Grafton as a potential suspect. Early September, according to Daily Beast, the Texas Rangers told Killeen police of the initiative.

Grafton-Cheatham partnership wasn't immediately apparent.