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Body of missing Fort Hood soldier found in Texas

Body of missing Fort Hood soldier found in Texas
© YouTube/KXXV

The body of the missing Fort Hood soldier was found in Temple, Texas, on Tuesday evening after he was reported missing more than a week ago, the family’s attorney announced in a statement.

Natalie Khawam, the family’s attorney, said in a statement that their “worst nightmare” about Sgt. Elder Fernandes “has happened.”

“One of our own, Sergeant Elder Fernandes has been found dead today,” she said on Twitter. “We are sickened by this tragedy that has happened one too many times. We are heartbroken for Elder Fernandes’s family.”

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The Temple Police Department said in a release that it received a call about a male “observed near the railroad tracks” at 5:36 p.m.

“Upon officers’ arrival, it was determined that the subject had been deceased for some period of time,” the department said in its statement, adding that there was “no indication of foul play.”

Police said identification at the scene indicated the man “may be” Fernandes but “no forensic confirmation has been made at this time.” They said “next of kin” were notified of the discovery. 

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Fernandes, a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialist assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, was last reported seen on Aug. 17 at his home in Killeen, Texas. 

Khawam, the family lawyer, told local newspaper The Enterprise that the family learned of the body late Tuesday night, adding it was found hanging in a tree. 

“We will not stop until we find out what happened to Elder,” she posted on Twitter. “We demand a Congressional Investigation of Ft. Hood. We must protect our soldiers! We demand Justice for Elder!”

Fernandes was the third Fort Hood soldier to go missing in the last year.

Spc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, went missing in April before her body was discovered months later in July. Army officials suspect another soldier, Aaron David Robinson, was involved in her disappearance before he killed himself. 

Pfc. Gregory Morales, 24, went missing exactly one year before Fernandes. His remains were discovered in June in Killeen, and his death remains under investigation. 

Officials said there was an “open investigation of abusive sexual contact” involving Fernandes and he was moved to another unit after reporting sexual abuse, The Enterprise reported.