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believed Missing

Body believed to be that of a missing Fort Hood soldier has been found – CNN

(CNN)A body believed to be that of a missing Fort Hood soldier has been found.

Officials are awaiting forensic confirmation but police said that identification found on the body indicate it is that of Sgt. Elder Fernandes.
“At this initial stage of the investigation, there is no indication of foul play,” police in Temple, Texas, said in a statement.
Officers were dispatched around 6 p.m. Tuesday for a medical call at some railroad tracks about 25 miles from the Texas army base.
“A caller advised that a male was observed near the railroad tracks. Upon officers’ arrival, it was determined that the subject had been deceased for some period of time,” according to the statement.
“Identification found at the scene indicates the victim may be missing Fort Hood Soldier 23-year-old Elder Fernandes. However, no forensic confirmation has been made at this time,” say police.
Fernandes, 23, was reported missing August 17 from the base. He had been transferred to a different unit because he was the victim in an “abusive sexual contact” investigation, the Army said.
The transfer was meant to ensure “he received the proper care and ensure there were no opportunities for reprisals,” said Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam, a 1st Cavalry Division public affairs officer.
Attorney Natalie Khawam, who represents the soldier’s family, called the news of the body’s discovery “our worst nightmare.”
“We are sickened by this tragedy that has happened one too many times. We are heartbroken for Elder Fernandes’s family,” Khawam tweeted.
According to Fort Hood, Fernandes is a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade. Finding him is a “top priority for the Division,” Fort Hood’s statement said.
This year, there have been a series of incidents in which Fort Hood soldiers have vanished and died, perhaps the most high-profile of which was the killing of Spc. Vanessa Guillen. The main suspect in her disappearance — another Fort Hood soldier — killed himself when he was confronted by investigators, according to CID.
In the wake of her death, the Army announced an independent review board made up of five civilians who would review the “command climate and culture” at Fort Hood.
Some soldiers have died under mysterious circumstances, including Pvt. Gregory Scott Morales, whose skeletal remains were found in a Killeen field in mid-June — 10 months after he’d vanished. Fort Hood said in a statement at the time that foul play is suspected in his death.
“We will not stop until we find out what happened to Elder. We demand a Congressional Investigation of Ft. Hood. We must protect our soldiers! We demand Justice for Elder,” Khawam said in another tweet.


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Categories
believed Bodies

Bodies believed to be those of 2 missing teens found at Utah Lake – NBC News

Two bodies found Thursday are believed to be those of teens who went missing while tubing on a Utah lake more than a week ago, officials said.

Utah County Sheriff Mike Smith said the remains are thought to be those of Priscilla Bienkowski, 18, and Sophia Hernandez, 17, who went out on Utah Lake on May 6 but did not return.

Smith expressed his “sincere condolences to the families of these two beautiful girls” at a news conference Thursday evening.

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Bienkowski, who is from Saratoga Springs, Utah, and Hernandez, of Eagle Mountain, went onto Utah Lake with what have been described as tube floats. A fisherman found the girls’ belongings on shore, including one of the girls’ ringing cellphones.

Sheriff Mike Smith, @UCSO, will give a briefing for media at Lincoln Beach Marina at 7:30 PM tonight. This is regarding the search for Priscilla Bienkowski and Sophia Hernandez who went missing on @UtahLake near The Knolls on 5/6/2020. pic.twitter.com/Uu3YzhgqNB

— Spencer Cannon (@SGTCannonPIO) May 14, 2020

The teens were thought to have been caught in bad weather on the lake. Smith said that even a modest wind on shore can create treacherous conditions on the large body of water south of Salt Lake City.

One of the bodies was found by a fisherman by a jetty around 1:40 p.m., Thursday, and the second was spotted by a pilot from the sheriff’s office around three hours later, Smith said.

Utah Lake is south of Salt Lake City.

Smith said that the search included more than 1,000 hours, more than 10 boats and wave runners as well as several aircraft. Many agencies assisted in the effort, including from the state and neighboring counties.

The large lake covers 96,000 surface acres and “can turn from just flat glass to just extreme conditions … in just a moment’s notice,” Utah State Parks Boating Coordinator Ty Hunter said.

The water clarity of the lake also makes cameras used underwater useless, and searchers had to rely on sonar.

Image: Phil helselPhil Helsel

Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.

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