Missing Fort Hood soldier found dead, hanging from tree

U.S.

This photo provided by the U.S. Army shows Sgt. Elder Fernandes. (U.S. Army via AP)

TEMPLE, Texas (NewsNation) — The body of missing Fort Hood soldier Sgt. Elder Fernandes has been found about 30 miles from the Army base in Texas where he was stationed, police said Tuesday.

Sgt. Fernandes’ identification was found with his body in Temple, according to a statement from Temple Police. Forensic confirmation of the identification is pending and an autopsy has been ordered.

Police say at this stage of the investigation, foul play is not suspected, however the investigation is ongoing.

Natalie Khawam, the attorney representing the Fernandes family, said Army police told family members about the discovery late Tuesday night. She said Fernandes’ body was found hanging in a tree.

Family members of the 23-year-old soldier reported to officers on August 19 that he was last seen by his Staff Sergeant on August 17, when he dropped him off at his residence in Killeen, TX. Fort Hood military base along with Killeen Police alerted the public that they were actively searching for the missing soldier.

According to Fernandes’ family, Elder Fernandes filed a sexual-assault claim against a superior at Fort Hood on May 11. Isabel Fernandes, Elder’s aunt, said the family also learned he was bullied, harassed and hazed when he was moved to a new unit following the assault.

U.S. Army officials confirmed in a statement that Elder Fernandes reported an incident of “abusive sexual contact” and that investigation is ongoing. He was transferred to a different unit within the brigade and officials said they are unaware of reports of bullying or hazing.

Fernandes is the third soldier from Fort Hood to go missing in the past year. The two others were found dead earlier this summer.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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