The Texas National Guardsman who went missing while attempting to save two drowning migrants at the southern border has been identified. The search for the missing Texas National Guardsman continues.
The soldier who went missing in Maverick County has been identified as 22-year-old Bishop E. Evans from Arlington, Texas. The department notified the missing soldier’s family on Friday night.
Migrants were trying to cross a river in Eagle Pass on Friday. Two migrants “appeared to be drowning as they illegally crossed the river from Mexico to the United States,” officials told Fox News. Bishop – who was assigned to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border initiative – tried to save the drowning migrants.
Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber told the Associated Press that “Evans took off his jacket and left his radio before going into the water around 8:30 a.m. Friday.”
“He jumped in the river,” Schmerber added. “They never saw him come out.”
A multiple agency search and rescue effort commenced after Evans went missing in the river, including search parties, boats, and helicopters. Dive teams joined the search shortly after, but were forced to suspend operations after the force of river currents strengthened.
The Texas Military Department released an update regarding the search on Sunday: “The search for the missing TMD soldier will continue until we have exhausted all available resources. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the family of the soldier.”
Fox News national correspondent Bill Melugin wrote on Twitter: “First photos of 22-year-old TX National Guard SPC. Bishop E. Evans of Arlington, TX, who has been missing since Friday morning and is presumed to have drowned in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass after he jumped in to save lives. Photos courtesy of his family.”
In a statement to Fox News, the Texas Military Department confirmed that Texas Rangers determined that the two migrants “were involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking.”
The Texas Military Department said of Bishop:
SPC Evans, 22, a field artilleryman from Arlington, Texas is assigned to A Battery, 4-133 Field Artillery Regiment in New Braunfels Texas, and joined the Texas Army National Guard in May 2019. He returned in the fall of 2020 from mobilization to Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait. During this mobilization, his dedication, talents, and tactical prowess led his leadership to regularly assign him to operations in Iraq in support of Special Operations Forces for short periods of time, while then rotating back into Kuwait.
Gov. Abbott said: “Texas National Guard Specialist Bishop Evans is a hero who risked his life in service to Texas & America. Law enforcement & rescue teams continue a relentless search for him. Join us in prayer for a successful recovery. Updates will be provided when they become available.”
Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) tweeted: “SPC. Evans will forever be remembered for the bravery and compassion he showed while saving lives in the Rio Grande. We will make sure this young soldier’s sacrifice will never be forgotten.”
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) wrote: “Tragic loss for Texas National Guard and family and friends of Bishop E. Evans. We are all praying for their loss. Our border is out of control and extremely dangerous. We must secure the border immediately.”
Texas Army National Guard soldier from Arlington missing following mission-related incident