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Fort Drum soldier charged with murder following death of 4-year-old child in December


FORT DRUM — A soldier from post faces military charges of murder in connection with the Dec. 10 death of a child on post.

According to a release from post, Staff Sgt. Raheem O. Hollis, 31, also faces charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for manslaughter, making a false official statement and assault in connection to the death of his stepson, 4-year-old Michael Sanders. Additionally, Sgt. Hollis was charged with obstruction of justice through the code’s Article 134, a catch-all which covers offenses that affect negatively the good order and discipline of the armed forces.

The child died at Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown, after being taken by ambulance to the hospital from an on-post residence.

If it is determined that the child’s death was premeditated or as a part of the perpetration of crimes like burglary, sexual assault or arson, Sgt. Hollis could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment.

Citing privacy concerns, information about the case has been limited for the months since the death was first announced in December, as military investigators reviewed the case.

On Tuesday afternoon, no information could be released about the identity of the child’s mother or circumstances about the cause of death for the child.

Sgt. Hollis is a combat engineer with the 1st Brigade Combat Team; he arrived at the post in August 2012.

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