Latest Missing Fort Hood Soldier Likely Found Dead Amid Sexual Assault Investigation on Base


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Sgt. Elder Fernandes — the latest in a string of soldiers who have gone missing from Fort Hood near Killeen — is believed to have been found dead, MySA reports.

Army officials called the Fernandes family Tuesday evening and asked to meet in person, family attorney Natalie Khawam told the news site. The family arrived from Massachusetts to help in the search for 23-year-old Fernandes late last week.

Fernandes previously reported an "incident of abusive sexual contact" that's now under investigation, Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam, a spokesman for the 1st Cavalry Division, previously said in press statement.

Army officials told the family that a body was found hanging in a tree in Temple, about 30 miles east of the base, according to MySA. A black backpack at the scene contained a military ID card and a driver's license that belonged to Fernandes, family attorney Khawam said.

The Temple Police Department said the IDs indicate the remains may belong to Fernandes, but "no forensic confirmation has been made at this time," according to the news report.

"Somebody cannot just vanish from the face of the earth like this. Somebody knows something," Isabel Fernandes, an aunt of the missing soldier, told mySA. "We can't sleep, we can't eat. This is beyond cruelty."

Fernandes is the third soldier to go missing from Fort Hood in a year, following Spc. Vanessa Guillén and Pfc. Gregory Morales. Both Guillén and Morales were found dead near the installation earlier this year.

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