The Texas Military Department is still searching for the body of a Texas National Guard soldier who jumped into the Rio Grande to save drowning migrants on Friday.
Searchers have been trying to recover the body of Texas Army National Guard Specialist Bishop E. Evans for two days. Evans, 22, was a field artilleryman from Arlington, Texas, who joined the National Guard in May 2019.
“With the Texas Rangers as the lead for the continued investigation, the Texas Military Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Border Patrol have tirelessly worked through search and rescue teams in an effort to locate SPC Evans,” the Texas Military Department said in a statement on Sunday. “Dive teams were forced to halt their operations yesterday evening as the river’s current continued at an increased pace, making dive operations very challenging. Search and rescue operations began again early Sunday morning, with the addition of three airboats from the Texas Department of Public Safety.”
Evans had beendeployed to the U.S.-Mexico border under Gov. Greg Abbott’s border security mission, Operation Lone Star, and was the first on-duty death among the Guard.
Evans went missing at approximately 8:30 a.m. local time Friday while assigned to a northern part of Eagle Pass. He had observed a group of people crossing from the Mexican shore through the turbulent water when two people in the group appeared to be drowning.
The soldier took off his walky-talky and body armor, dropped them on the shore, and ran into the water to rescue them, Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber told the Washington Examiner Friday.
“The National Guardsman jumped into the river and tried to rescue, and he never came out,” Schmerber said.
The Texas Military Department worked with the Border Patrol and the Texas Department of Public Safety. The search was suspended Friday evening because of the strength of the river but was continued Saturday.
Eagle Pass, a town of 29,000 residents located in south-central Texas, has become the main hub of the migrant influx, with 1,000 people taken into custody daily for illegally crossing the Rio Grande into the small border city.