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Texas National Guardsman’s Body Recovered Near U.S-Mexico Border

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Specialist Bishop E. Evans | Image by Greg Abbott / Twitter

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The body of a Texas Army National Guard Soldier, who went missing during a mission-related incident on April 22, has been found.

According to the Texas Military Department, 22-year-old Specialist Bishop E. Evans went missing after he jumped into the Rio Grande to rescue two unlawful migrants who appeared to be drowning as they tried to cross the river from Mexico into the U.S. It is unclear if the individuals made it to shore.

Led by the Texas Rangers, the search for Evans was carried out by the Texas Military Department, Border Patrol, the Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

According to NBC 5 News, dive teams were forced to suspend their search for Evans on the evening of April 23 after the speed of the river’s current increased, making it difficult to continue the operation. However, rescue efforts re-commenced early in the morning on April 24.

Evans’s body was recovered at the end of the exhaustive interagency search.

Major General Tom Suelzer, adjutant general for Texas, put out a statement confirming the recovery of Evans’s body, saying the Texas Army National Guard is devastated by the loss of one of its family.

“We recognize the selflessness of this heroic Soldier who put his life above others in service to our state and national security,” Suelzer said in the statement. “The Texas Military Department sends our deepest condolences to the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.”

Several politicians and elected officials, including Governor Greg Abbott, have sent out condolence messages to Evan’s family.

“Texas National Guard Specialist Bishop Evans from Arlington died while serving in the line of duty during Operation Lone Star,” Abbott wrote on Twitter. “The flags at the Texas Capitol are at half-staff until sunset tomorrow to honor his heroic service to this state and nation.”

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate running against Abbott for Texas governor, said he was grateful for Evans’ service to the state.

“I’m grateful for his service to our state, this country, and all of us. We’re thinking of his loved ones, his community, and the men and women of the Texas National Guard who served alongside him,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter.

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

According to the Mansfield ISD spokeswoman Lari Barager, Evans was a member of Mansfield High School’s JROTC drill team and graduated in 2018.

Evans was serving at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of Operation Lone Star.

Operation Lone Star was launched in March 2021 in an effort to stem the flow of unlawful migrants entering the country through the U.S.-Mexico border.

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