By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

A day after authorities revealed the identity of a woman found dead on Fort Hood, three investigative agencies on Thursday were firmly entrenched in an investigation to find her killer.

U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, known as CID, the Killeen Police Department and the FBI are investigating the homicide of Barbara Howell, 42, of Killeen, whose badly decomposed body was found Sept. 5 on Radar Hill Road in a remote area of West Fort Hood.

The preliminary autopsy results, released Sept. 7 by the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas, listed the cause of death as homicidal violence.

Carroll Smith, public information officer for KPD, said there are no suspects yet.

Erik Vasys, spokesman for the FBI in San Antonio, said the decomposition of the body delayed identification of Howell's body, but a positive fingerprint match was eventually obtained by forensic experts.

Vasys said the initial investigation revealed Howell's death occurred in mid-August.

"The body had been out there at least three weeks," he said.

Before the body was identified, it was exclusively a CID investigation.

Howell was reported missing to KPD by family members Sept. 28.

Smith said it's not unusual to have three agencies working on the same homicide investigation.

She said KPD got involved in the investigation because it is a missing person case originating in Killeen.

The FBI is taking part in the investigation because the crime was committed against a civilian on federal property.

Vasys said investigators are looking for information regarding Howell's whereabouts and companions before her death.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the FBI office in Waco at (254) 772-1627 or KPD at (254) 501-8830.

Contact Justin Cox at jcox@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7568.

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