Authorities said Texas Army National Guard Specialist Bishop E. Evans went missing when he “selflessly attempted to help two migrants who appeared to be drowning” as they crossed the river from Mexico to the United States on Friday. Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber said the rescue attempt happened at a section of the river known for strong currents.
“He jumped in the river,” Schmerber said. “They never saw him come out.”
The two migrants were later determined to have been involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking. Both are now in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
The Texas Military Department notified the family of the missing soldier Friday evening. TMD expressed its support, saying, “our thoughts and prayers remain with the family of the soldier.”
The search for SPC Evans will continue until all available resources have been exhausted, according to TMD.
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. He was regularly assigned to operations in Iraq.
The SPC Evans was assigned to Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s sprawling border security mission, known as Operation Lone Star, which has deployed thousands of Guard members across Texas’ 1,200-mile (1,920-kilometer) southern border since launching last year. The multibillion-dollar operation also includes a heavy presence of state troopers and authorizes Guard members to help make arrests.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.