MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - U.S. military authorities charged on Monday a U.S. soldier with "unpremeditated murder" after he allegedly killed a Panamanian woman, an army spokeswoman said.

Master Sergeant Omar Velez is being held in North Carolina ahead of a pre-trial hearing as military authorities investigate the case in conjunction with the Panamanian government, spokeswoman Kimberly Hanson said.

Velez was conducting trainings in Panama as part of the U.S. Army Security Assistance Training Management Organization, a unit generally associated with foreign sales of military equipment, an army spokesman said on Sunday.

Panamanian daily newspaper Critica has reported that Velez was apprehended as he was attempting to bury the body of the 26-year-old victim, with whom he was believed to have had a romantic relationship. The U.S. Southern Command could not confirm those details.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Michael Perry)

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