Fort Hood Officials Confirm Body Is That of 23-year-old Sgt. Elder Fernandes


Image via Fort Hood Press Center

By Araceli Cruz

August 26, 2020

Fernandes is now the 10th Fort Hood soldier to die under questionable circumstances.

Fort Hood officials confirmed the death of 23-year-old Sgt. Elder Fernandes. The young soldier had been missing since Aug. 17. Yesterday evening police in Temple, Texas, a city 30 miles east of the base, received a call about a body that was hanging from a tree. Temple police said the body had been there for a while, yet couldn’t immediately confirm that it was indeed Fernandes. They did say, however, that his belongings, including ID, were located near the body. 

Late last night, Natalie Khawam, the lawyer representing the family of Sgt. Elder Fernandes, who also represents the family of Vanessa Guillén, announced on Twitter that Fernandes had been found dead. 

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“Our worst nightmare has happened,” Khawam tweeted. “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.”

Fernandes is now the 10th Fort Hood soldier to die since March.

Earlier this week, an army official said that Fernandes had been a victim of sexual abuse and that he had been transferred to a different unit.

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“We can confirm there is an open investigation of abusive sexual contact involving Sgt. Fernandes,” Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam, a 1st Cavalry Division spokesman, said in a statement to NBC News. “The unit sexual assault response coordinator has been working closely with Sgt. Fernandes, ensuring he was aware of all his reporting, care, and victim advocacy options.”

On Aug. 6, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said they are investigating the recent increase in deaths, murder, and assault at Fort Hood.




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