The body of a Fort Hood soldier who was reported missing on August 19 was found hanging from a tree about 30 miles from the Army Base on Tuesday, police said Tuesday.
The 23-year-old was last seen Aug. 17 by a staff sergeant who had dropped him off at his Killeen home, Killeen police have said.
Local officials identified the body as Sgt. Elder Fernandes using a backpack at the scene that held Fernandes’ military ID and license, according to officials.
Natalie Khawam, attorney for the Fernandes family, saying, “Our worst nightmare has happened. One of our own, Sergeant Elder Fernandes has been found dead today. We are sickened by this tragedy that has happened one too many times. We are heartbroken for Elder Fernandes’s family.”
Khawam said the soldier was supposed to be released into the custody of his roommate after he was dropped off by military officials following mental health treatment. However, those officials left him alone in front of the building where he lived.
The soldier reportedly was considering suicide after he told superiors he was sexually assaulted on post in April, according to Khawam.
Khawan, who also represents the family of slain Fort Hood soldier Vaness Guillen, said it is unclear whether foul play is suspected.
Fernandes is the third soldier from Fort Hood to go missing in the past year, and two have been found dead this summer.