FORT Hood missing soldier Elder Fernandes, 23, “had reported alleged sexual abuse” at the scandal-hit military base before vanishing.
Missing Fort Hood soldier Elder Fernandes reported alleged sexual abuse before his disappearance[/caption]
Fort Hood has been the center of scandal as nearly a dozen soldiers have turned up dead on the military base this year[/caption]
Fernandes was last seen on Monday, according to police[/caption]
Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam confirmed that Fernandes had reported a sexual assault and the Army was investigating the incident, KWTX reported.
“We can confirm that there is an open investigation of abuse sexual contact involving Sgt. Fernandes,” Brautigam said.
“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.
“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,” he added, as reported by KWTX.
The 1st Cavalry Division announced the 23-year-old Chemical, Biological Radiological and Nuclear specialist was missing on Thursday.
Officials have asked for help in locating Fernandes[/caption]
Fernandes went missing just days after Specialist Cole Jakob Aton died[/caption]
Soldier Vanessa Guillen was found dead earlier this year, months after she disappeared from the base[/caption]
He has not been seen or heard from since Monday, August 17, the Killeen Police Department said.
Fernandes was last seen when he was dropped off at his home in Killeen, police said.
His family reported missing him two days later, investigators said.
The United States Army’s Criminal Investigation Command said that according to information given by Fernandes’ fellow soldiers, he “may have left Fort Hood on his own accord.”
The 1st Cavalry Division said officials “do not suspect foul play” in Fernandes’ disappearance.
Fernandes is described by the Army as African American, standing 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing 133 pounds.
He has black hair and brown eyes.
The missing soldier was last seen wearing an Army physical training shirt and shorts, and black, orange, and yellow athletic shoes, according to the Army.
“We are very concerned about the welfare of this Soldier and first and foremost we want to ensure he is okay,” Christopher Grey, a spokesperson for the Army CID said in a statement.
“If someone out there has any information, regardless of how trivial you may think it is, we are asking you to contact us immediately,” he added.
Guillen’s family alleged she was sexually harassed before she went missing[/caption]
The remains of Pvt. Gregory Scott Morales (pictured) were found as officials were searching for Guillen[/caption]
Anyone with information related to Fernandes’ disappearance is asked to contact Fort Hood CID Office at 254-287-2722, Fort Hood MP desk at 254-287-4001, or local police.
Fernandes’ disappearance comes just days after the death of an 11th soldier at the scandal-hit base.
The most recent death was Specialist Cole Jakob Aton on August 12.
Specialist Aaron David Robinson, Gregory Wedel-Morales, Private Mejhor Morta, Specialist Francisco Gilberto Hernandez-Vargas, Private First Class Brandon Scott Rosecrans, Private First Class Freddy Delacruz Jr, Specialist Christopher Wayne Sawyer and Specialist Shelby Tyler Jones were all found dead at Fort Hood this year.
Army Secretary Ryan McCarty announced in June that an independent probe into the deaths would be launched.
Several bodies were discovered as authorities searched for missing soldier Vanessa Guillen – who went missing in April.
Pvt. Mejhor Morta was found unresponsive around 20 miles from Fort Hood earlier this year[/caption]
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Guillen’s family said was sexually harassed before she disappeared from Fort Hood.
Her body was found months after her disappearance in a shallow grave, in what investigators have described as a gruesome murder.
Two soldiers were also arrested this month in a ‘child sex ring,’ as police alleged they were caught trying to pay for sex with underage girls.