Fort Hood Soldier Reported Sexual Abuse Before Disappearance
We're getting new details surrounding the latest disappearance of a soldier at Killeen, Texas' Fort Hood.
According to the base, 23-year-old Sgt. Elder Fernandes was the victim in an ongoing "abusive sexual contact" investigation. The Killeen Police Department says Fernandes was last reported to have been seen by his sergeant who dropped him off at his home in Killeen last Monday (August 17).
Fernandes' family reported him missing on Wednesday when they were unable to get in touch with him.
Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam of Fort Hood spoke with CNN saying, that there is an "open investigation of abusive sexual contact" involving Fernandes and confirmed that Fernandes was the victim in the investigation.
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," Brautigam's statement reads. "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."
Fernandes is described as being approximately 5’4” tall and weighs approximately 133 pounds. He was last seen wearing black army PT shorts and t-shirt with red athletic shoes.
As we've reported, Fort Hood has been the subject of several disappearances and deaths regarding soldier this year.
The most recent incident surrounding Fort Hood involved a 24-year-old soldier that died following a boating accident earlier this month. Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas was reportedly riding an inner tube behind a boat in the area of Dana Peak Park, when he went under the water and did not resurface. His body was recovered August 2.
Vanessa Guillen, whose case garnered national attention, disappeared in April. Guillen's family reported that she experienced sexual harassment prior to her disappearance at Fort Hood. Her body was later found in June. She was laid to rest in an emotional public memorial in Houston on August 15.