Army asks for help in a search for missing Fort Hood soldier
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — The U.S. Army is asking for the public’s help in a search for another missing soldier in Texas.
Fort Hood officials issued a missing soldier alert Thursday night for Sgt. Elder Fernandes, 23. Police in nearby Killeen said Fernandes was reported missing Wednesday and was last seen or heard from Monday afternoon when his staff sergeant dropped Fernandes off at his home in Killeen.
A police statement described Fernandes as 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 133 pounds (60.33 kilograms) and was last seen wearing black Army physical training shorts and T-shirt with red athletic shoes.
Fernandes is a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist with the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade at the Central Texas Army installation. The missing soldier alert said the Army's main concern was "to ensure his safety and wellbeing.
Tipsters are asked to contact Fort Hood military police at 254-288-1170 or U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command at 254-287-2722.
The disappearance came a year after the disappearance of Pfc. Gregory Morales, 24, a Fort Hood soldier who was reported missing on Aug. 20, 2019. His remains were found June 21 in a field in Killeen, just over 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Stillhouse Hollow Lake. Killeen police are still investigating his death.
Then on July 1, Army officials found human remains subsequently identified as those Pfc. Vanessa Guillén, 20, a Fort Hood soldier who had been missing since April. Her remains were found near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) east of Fort Hood. Spc. Aaron Robinson, 20, of Calumet City, Illinois, killed and dismembered Guillén and had the remains disposed of in nearby woods, federal and state investigators said.
Robinson killed himself July 1, the day Guillén’s remains were found, officials said. Cecily Aguilar, 22, of Killeen, has been accused of disposing of Guillén's remains for Robinson and has been charged with three federal conspiracy counts related to the soldier's death. She has pleaded not guilty.
Army leaders have delayed the planned transfer of Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, the Fort Hood commander, to a more prestigious assignment at Fort Bliss, Texas, while a team of independent investigators determines if leadership failures contributed to the deaths and disappearances. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy has commented that Fort Hood has one of the highest rates of murder, sexual assault and harassment in the Army.
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