FORT BLISS, Texas – For the second time in seven months, a female U.S. Army soldier assigned to the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss has died after being found unresponsive in her barracks room on post. ABC-7 has learned the two deceased female soldiers had been engaged to be married.
Officials on Thursday identified the latest victim as 20-year-old Pvt. Marriah Pouncy, an Arizona native. They said her body was discovered on Monday.
"The circumstances surrounding her death are currently under investigation. Foul play is not suspected at this time and no threat is posed to the installation, as this is believed to have been an isolated incident," the Army said in a statement.
Pouncy was engaged to marry 19-year-old Pfc. Asia Graham, who also died after being found unresponsive in her barracks room on post back on New Year's Eve of last year. The engagement between the two women was confirmed to ABC-7 on Thursday by Graham's mother.
"I know she had a lot of love for (Marriah) and if Asia had still been alive, I know she would be devastated by her death... devastated, said Nicole Graham, Asia's mother.
The military recently said it had determined Graham's death was the result of a drug overdose. It came after she accused a fellow soldier of sexually assaulting her; he was convicted last week at a court martial of raping her. It was during the court martial that a "close friendship" between the two female soldiers was first revealed.
Nicole Graham told ABC-7 that Pouncy was also the victim of a sexual assault while at Fort Bliss, although it wasn't indicated whether it was the same man convicted of assaulting her daughter. A recently-released study found Fort Bliss ranked second among all Army posts for the sexual assault risk posed for women.
Officials said Pouncy had been stationed at Fort Bliss since December 2019, following a short tour of duty in South Korea.
“Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends, and fellow soldiers of Pvt. Marriah Pouncy. Pvt. Pouncy was a committed soldier, friend, and valued member of the Iron Eagle Team. Her loss is not just felt within our formation, but across the Army,” said Col. Geoffrey Whittenberg, the 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade commander.