The body of the Black National Guard soldier missing since Friday (April 22) has been recovered, per NPR. Officials say the 22-year-old Specialist Bishop E. Evans spotted two migrants attempting to cross the border drowning in the Rio Grande. He reportedly jumped into the river waters to save them but soon went missing.
Search and rescue teams found his remains over the weekend, and the Guard says they identified them on Monday (April 25). His cause of death hasn't been determined yet.
"We are devastated by the loss of a member of our Guard family," Maj. Gen. Tom Suelzer, adjutant general for Texas, says. "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."
Early search efforts were paused Saturday (April 23) due to the fast-moving currents in the river but resumed Sunday (April 24), according to the Texas Military Department.
Evans, who was from Arlington, Texas, was a field artilleryman before joining the Texas Army National Guard in May 2019, department officials shared. He also served in Kuwait as part of Operation Spartan Shield. After he returned to Texas in 2020, he participated in Operation Lone Star, a controversial program started by Gov. Greg Abbott to crack down on illegal immigration.
The governor also ordered all flags in the state at half-staff in honor of Evans.
"We are heartbroken to learn of the death of SPC Bishop Evans. He heroically served his state & country," Abbott tweeted Monday. "I want to thank all rescue teams that worked to locate this soldier. Join me & Cecilia in praying for the family & friends of SPC Evans."