FORT HOOD — When Pvt. Dakota Stump was found dead next to his flipped-over vehicle on post Nov. 3, he had been missing for nearly a month.
The 19-year-old soldier was reported missing Oct. 10, and his family was frantic to find him.
After a lack of communication with Fort Hood officials on the search for Stump — and information that later turned out to be false, according to Stump’s brother, Dustin Campbell — the family is petitioning federal leadership to change how the military reports missing persons to make it easier to assist families in finding their loved ones.
“I don’t know if it’s the leadership there, but they just don’t seem to have things together,” Campbell said. “There was a lot of wrong information. They sent his wrong medals, and they talked about how his phone was pinging from Indianapolis days after his actual death.”
Stump’s elder brother, who is in Florida for work, said the entire process between the time Stump went missing until his body was found was long, drawn-out and “horrible.”
“The result would have been the same if they had been actively searching and found him sooner, but it would have given us some kind of closure,” he said.
Their mother, Patrice Wise, is spearheading the effort to change military reporting procedures. The petition, which can be found at www.gopetition.com/petitions/justice-4-dakota.html, has 5,314 signatures of a 5,000 goal as of Monday.
“People have been real supportive,” Campbell said. “The No. 1 goal of this is the next time this happens, the procedures are changed for someone in need.”
Fort Hood officials said they were unable to immediately respond to a Herald request for more information concerning the investigation and interaction with Stump’s family after he went missing.