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Texas Army National Guard Specialist Bishop E. Evans, 22, went missing near Eagle Pass Friday while attempting to rescue two migrants who “appeared to be drowning while crossing the river from Mexico into the U.S.,” according to the Texas Military Department.
Multiple sources initially confirmed to Fox News that Evans body was found and recovered in Eagle Pass, Texas Monday morning.
Rep. Tony Gonzales’ office separately told Fox News Digital that the Republican congressman received information from Border Patrol that Evans’ body was found Monday morning.
“This morning SPC Evans’ body was found and identified by local authorities,” Gonzales said in a statement provided to Fox News Digital. “This young soldier made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of protecting and serving our country. He will never be forgotten.”
The Texas Military Department subsequently released a statement publicly confirming Evans. assigned to Operation Lone Star, “has been found deceased following an exhaustive interagency search.”
“We are devastated by the loss of a member of our Guard family,” Maj. Gen. Tom Suelzer, Adjutant General for Texas, said in a statement. “We recognize the selflessness of this heroic Soldier who put his life above others in service to our state and national security. The Texas Military Department sends our deepest condolences to the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, said he was “heartbroken” after learning of Evans’ passing.
“Our National Guard soldiers risk their lives every day to serve and protect others, and we are eternally grateful for the way SPC Evans heroically served his state and country,” Abbott said in a statement shared to Twitter. “I ask that Texans join Cecilia and me in praying for the family and friends of SPC Evans as they grieve this heartbreaking loss.”
The governor also thanked the members of the Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Border Patrol, and local law enforcement “for working around the clock to locate this soldier.” Abbott said the Texas Military Department will provide more updates once they become available.
Dive teams were forced to halt their operations Saturday evening as the river’s current continued at an increased pace, making dive operations very challenging. Search and rescue operations began again early Sunday morning, with the addition of three airboats from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
In a previous statement to Fox News, the Texas Military Department said Texas Rangers have determined from initial reports that the two migrants “were involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking.”
Texas Rangers is the lead agency for the investigation, while the Texas Military Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Border Patrol had been organizing the search and rescue teams in their effort to locate Evans.
Evans was a field artilleryman from Arlington, Texas, assigned to A Battery, 4-133 Field Artillery Regiment in New Braunfels, Texas. He 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, according to the Texas Military Department.
Fox News’ Adam Sabes contributed to this report.