Missing Texas Guardsman Identified; Search Continues in Rio Grande

Missing Texas Guardsman Identified; Search Continues in Rio Grande a u.s. border patrol fast boat patrols the rio grande river A U.S. Border Patrol fast boat patrols the Rio Grande river in Roma, Texas, on March 24, 2021. (Dario Lopez-Mills/AP)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 25 April 2022 07:16 AM

A Texas Army National Guard soldier who has remained missing since Friday, when he tried to save two migrants from the Rio Grande River, has been identified as Spc. Bishop E. Evans of Arlington, according to the Texas Military Department.

The department said Sunday that Evans' family has been notified about his disappearance and that the search, with the use of airboats and dive teams, is continuing for the 22-year-old Guardsman through the assistance of the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and U.S. Border Patrol, reports the Dallas Morning News.

The Texas Rangers service has taken the lead role in the investigation, the paper reported.

The Texas Military Department, quoting initial reports from the Rangers, said Saturday that the migrants are believed to have been trafficking narcotics across the river at Eagle Pass, Texas when Evans jumped into the fast-flowing river to rescue them. The two migrants survived and are now in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

Gov. Greg Abbott, in a tweet Sunday, posted a photograph of Evans and referred to him as a "hero who risked his life in service to Texas & America.

"Law enforcement & rescue teams continue a relentless search for him," Abbott also said. "Join us in prayer for a successful recovery. Updates will be provided when they become available."

Evans, a field artilleryman and part of the A Battery, 4-133 Field Artillery Regiment in New Braunfels, joined the Texas Army National Guard in May 2019 and has served in Kuwait and Iraq, according to the military department.

"He returned in the fall of 2020 from mobilization to Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait," the department said Sunday. "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."

Evans was deployed to the Eagle Pass area as part of Operation Lone Star, an operation started by Abbott over a year ago involving the Texas National Guard and the Department of Public Service to combat the surge of immigrants entering the country illegally.

The governor earlier this month expanded the effort because of President Joe Biden's plans to end the Title 42 policy enacted while former President Donald Trump was in office to keep immigrants out during the COVID pandemic.