Search crews combed the Rio Grande for the third day on Sunday looking for signs of a Texas National Guard soldier who disappeared into the water amid an attempt to save two people he believed were drowning.
For the first time on Sunday, Texas officials publicly identified the missing soldier as Bishop E Evans, a 22-year-old specialist and field gunner.
Evans was working on Eagle Pass as part of a border security operation overseen by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about 8:30 a.m. Friday when he saw people trying to cross the Rio Grande and enter the United States from Mexico without permission.
They appeared to be drowning, and after dropping their radios and armor, Evans came in to try to rescue them, according to local authorities and the Texas military department, which administers the state National Guard.
The soldier – hailed by the state military department as “disinterested” – did not resurface. Until Sunday afternoon, there was no trace of him, fueling the fear that he had drowned. Divers and boat crews have been searching for water since Friday, though they have had to halt their efforts at least twice due to the infamous rapid current of the river.
The two people Evans was trying to help crossed the river safely, and the U.S. Border and Customs Patrol arrested them both. Investigators accused the couple of being “involved in the illicit transnational narcotics trafficking,” Texas military department officials said Saturday in a statement, without giving further details.
Evans joined the Texas National Guard in May 2019 and was assigned to the A Battery, 4-133rd Field Artillery Regiment in New Braunfels, the state military department added in a statement on Sunday. He soon served in Kuwait, occasionally traveling to Iraq to support special operations forces.
Evans commanders have entrusted him with his work in Iraq because of “his dedication, talents and tactical dexterity,” the Texas military department statement said. He returned from that deployment in 2020.
Abbott launched the border security initiative Evans was working on last year. Nicknamed Operation Lone Star, it was Abbott’s response to the increase in border crossings, which the governor declared a disaster so that he could deploy the National Guard there.
Authorities say the operation, which consisted mainly of state police and National Guard soldiers, led to the arrest of more than 200,000 migrants crossing the United States without permission for nearly 12,000 criminal charges.
But those numbers include arrests that are physically far from the border and unrelated to crimes there, the Texas Tribune, ProPublica and the Marshall Project have previously reported. Some of those arrests were made by officers who are neither state police nor National Guard soldiers, according to the media, who estimate the operation costs Texas taxpayers $ 2.5 million a week.
Crews search in Rio Grande for a Texas soldier who has been launched to help migrants Texas
Source link Crews search in Rio Grande for a Texas soldier who has been launched to help migrants Texas