Body of missing Fort Hood soldier found

Sgt. Elder Fernandes, 23, of Brockton, MA is stationed at Fort Hood. [Image credit: 1st Cavalry Division]

Fort Hood has issued a press release confirming that "Sgt. Elder Fernandes was found deceased Aug. 24 in Temple, Texas" which is approximately 30 miles east of Killeen.


Fernandes was last seen on August 17th when he was dropped off at a friend's residence by his Staff Sergeant and was reported missing on the 19th. According to Army Times, Fernandes never actually made it to his friend's door.


Several days later Fort Hood confirmed that Fernandes was part of an open sexual assault investigation on the base, but stated at the time that foul play was not suspected.


Until filing the complaint of sexual assault on May 11th, Fernandes' family stated he was happy with his experience in the Army and had actually extended his contract until 2024.  According to Stripes, the family was able to piece together information that upon being transferred to another unit, Fernandes was bullied, harassed and hazed.


Police in Temple, Texas reported that they received a medical call at 5:36 pm Tuesday saying that a railroad employee had seen a male near the tracks.  Officers arrived and found a deceased male hanged in a tree.


Preliminary identification has been made based on a backpack that was found with the body and identification that was said to have been found inside.  Nevertheless, forensic confirmation of identity and an autopsy have been ordered.


Temple police additionally stated that foul play is not suspected but they are investigating the death.


Late Tuesday night, attorney Natalie Khawam took to Twitter to confirm that Fernandes' body had been found.


In an interview with the Associated Press, Fernandes' mother, Isabel Fernandes, stated that the last time she had spoken to her son was Sunday, August 16th, the evening before he was scheduled to be discharged from Carl R. Darnell Army Medical Center.  He had reportedly been receiving psychiatric care and told his mother that he would call the following day.  That call never came in.


Isabel stated additionally that the family has not been told the reason he was receiving psychiatric care or whether that care was voluntary.