Authorities in Texas are searching for another missing Fort Hood soldier amid a tumultuous period for the base that’s included multiple service members turning up dead.
Sgt. Elder Fernandes, a 23-year-old chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) specialist assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division, has not been heard from by his family since Sunday, prompting them to report him missing three days later, according to a statement from the Killeen Police Department on Thursday and comments made by family members to ABC News Friday.
Elder Fernandes’ mother, Ailina Fernandes, and brother, Elton Fernandes, told ABC News in a telephone interview that he had reported being sexually harassed in the months leading up to his disappearance.
“It was an ongoing investigation for two months that will never get closure,” his mother said. “And there’s a lot more that I don’t know; only Elder will be able to tell us, when we find him.”
The 1st Cavalry Division confirmed there is an open investigation into alleged abusive sexual contact involving Fernandes to ABC News Friday evening, saying that he was moved to a new unit and steps were taken to shield him from retribution.
“The unit sexual assault response coordinator has been working closely with Sgt. Fernandes, ensuring he was aware of all his reporting, care, and victim advocacy options,” said division spokesman Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam. “The unit also facilitated his transfer from a unit who has recently deployed to a different unit within the brigade to ensure he received the proper care and ensure there were no opportunities for reprisals.”