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Body found in Az coal plant ID'd as missing Texas solider

Human remains found inside a coal chute at a power plant near Cochise, east of Tucson, in June have been identified, authorities said. 

The body was identified as 21-year-old Devon Lee Ward from California, a U.S. Army private stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas, said Carol Capas, a spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. 

Ward had been listed as absent without leave since early June, Capas said. 

On June 27, the Sheriff's Office was called when workers at the Apache Generating Station found human remains in one of three "coal rotary plows," part of the power plant's coal delivery system. 

Workers at the plant called deputies after they went to check out a malfunctioning plow just around midnight and discovered the remains, said Capas. 

Deputies recovered partial skeletal bones and body parts in advanced stages of decomposition and sent them to the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office for autopsy, said Capas. 

Officials said it was unknown how long the body was in the chute, but it appears that Ward's remains may have been in a coal train car before being dumped in the coal chute at the power plant, said Capas. 

The Medical Examiner's Office was able to get a fingerprint match from the body and confirmed the identity of the remains, said Capas. 

Next of kin have been notified and the Sheriff's Office is continuing the investigation, said Capas. 

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