Mother of missing soldier arrives from Boston: ‘I’m not leaving until he’s found'

Fort Hood said Saturday foul play is not suspected in soldier's disappearance
Published: Aug. 22, 2020 at 7:06 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 24, 2020 at 10:13 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Fort Hood officials Saturday said “foul play is not suspected in the disappearance of Sgt. Elder Fernandes.

Fernandes was last seen at a home in Killeen on Monday according to Fort Hood. On Friday Texas EquuSearch joined in the search for him. Crews on Saturday were searching in a wooded area near the intersection of Cody Poe and Watercrest Roads in the neighborhood where officials say he was last seen.

Friends and family of Fernandes were also putting up missing person posters near hotels and other areas around town where they believe Fernandes would go.

His mother, Ailina Fernandes who flew in from Boston, was also helping with the search efforts Saturday.

“We’re here and I’m not planning to leave here until my son is found,” the mother said.

Texas EquuSearch search coordinator Mark Rogers said they have limited information about where else to search for Fernandes. He said the team may have to leave, regroup and return to search later.

Army officials have said there is an open investigation of “abusive sexual contact” in which Fernandes is the alleged victim. But Saturday they said his disappearance is not connected to any other ongoing cases at Fort Hood.

“We are concerned for his well-bieng and want him to continue the care he was receiving before he went missing,” said Justin Redfern, commander of the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.

Fernandes’ mother has expressed frustration with how much effort Fort Hood has put into the search for her son.

“I feel like I should have the whole army troop out here looking for Elder,” she said “I feel like they’re not doing enough.”

On Sunday, Fernandes’ family called an emotional press conference outside Fort Hood before going on-post to meet with Army officials.

“How do we go back to Boston without and answer or without you?” said Isabel Fernandes, Elder’s Aunt.

“We can’t. We need you to come forward. Please, if you can see us, if you can hear us, please come back.”

Elder Fernandes is 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighs 133 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a black Army physical trainging t-shirt and shorts with black, orange and yellow athletic shoes.

Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts should contact Fort Hood CID Office at (254) 287-2722, the Fort Hood MP desk at (254) 287-4001 or Killeen police at 254-526-8477.

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