Fort Hood soldier missing since Aug 17 found dead in suspected suicide
TEMPLE, Texas - The attorney for the missing Fort Hood soldier's family says Sgt. Elder Fernandes was found dead in a suspected suicide near railroad tracks in Temple. She also told FOX 7 Austin's Amanda Ruiz that she’s calling for a congressional investigation on his death and Vanessa Guillen’s death.
According to the Temple Police Department, a call was received regarding a medical call along the railroad tracks west of South 49th Street just after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 25.
The caller told police that a man was seen near the tracks and when officers arrived they found a body which they say appeared to have been there for some time. Fernandes' backpack was with him and police found his driver's license inside, according to the family's attorney.
Police say there is no indication of foul play and that an autopsy has been ordered.
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Fort Hood says Fernandes was last seen by members of his unit on August 17 at a home in Killeen. His vehicle was found on post in his unit's parking lot.
Before his disappearance, Fernandes had reported that he had been a victim of abusive sexual contact. The 1st Cavalry Division confirmed to FOX 7 Austin that Fernandes was transferred from a recently deployed unit to another unit with the brigade "to ensure he received the proper care and ensure there were no opportunities for reprisals," says the division in a statement.
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Sgt. Elder Fernandes's mother, Ailina Fernandes, had told FOX 7 Austin that her son has been in the Army for almost four years. He was supposed to call her after he got discharged from the hospital Monday, August 17 but never did.
“He will never just disappear and not call me and tell me mom I'm okay, don't worry, he won't do that for no reason. Something's going on with him. We just have to find him,” she said.
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If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text to 741-741
CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support.