KILLEEN, Texas - The search was on in Killeen for missing Fort Hood Soldier Elder Fernandes. Texas Equusearch, family, and friends all joined in the 10-hour search.
“I still have hope. I feel like it's been a month, a year since I landed in Killeen. I'm not planning to leave here until I find my son,” said Ailina Fernandes.
Ailina Fernandes is the mother of Sgt. Elder Fernandes led the search to find her son.
“This is a good sign for residents in Killeen. I'm starting to feel more support from the residents of Killeen,” said Ailina.
The search moved all through Killeen. The main search was in this field five miles outside the Fort Hood base conducted by Texas Equusearch.
“We're here searching based on information that we got from the family as far as the last known whereabouts of Elder,” said Mark Rogers, Search Coordinator with Equusearch.
According to family, a field on Cove Road is near the area Elder was last seen before he went missing. Rogers says his team has mapped the entire area to be searched thoroughly.
“Based on the size of the area, we brought out seven searchers. We’re on foot and ATVs so they're basically combing through all the underbrush that they can access,” said Rogers.
Texas Equusearch is the same organization that helped find the remains of Vanessa Guillen, another missing Fort Hood soldier.
“It's kind of strange that we have to come back out here and do this again. Maybe just a coincidence. We don't know. We don't dwell on that a whole lot. It's just that we want to find Elder and get him back to the family,” said Rogers.
The search went on for about 10 hours. Ailina says she will keep looking until her son is found.
“I want to say to him, that we'll be here, his family's here in Texas to get to him. I just needed him to give me one signal. Where I can find him. If Elder can see me, if you see me. If you can see us. I'm here for you,” said Ailina.
Fort Hood released this statement on Sgt. Fernandes’ disappearance:
Foul play is not suspected in the disappearance of Sgt. Elder Fernandes. He was last seen at a residence in Killeen, Texas.
"Our priority remains getting Sgt. Fernandes back with the people that care about him," said Justin Redfern, commander of the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
"We are concerned for his well-being and want him to continue the care he was receiving before he went missing. Our unit and the Army have the resources to help him."
Information gathered from fellow Soldiers indicates Sgt. Fernandes left on his own accord. We resolve every case based on its unique circumstances. At this time, there is no connection between the disappearance of Sgt. Fernandes and any other ongoing cases at Fort Hood. Sgt. Fernandes’ Leadership initiated a dialogue with his family before his current absence and will remain in contact with them in our efforts to find him.
We thank those who have expressed concern for his safety and are helping us find our teammate. We are especially grateful for the efforts of the Killeen Police Department and US Army CID. We ask for the continued support and assistance of the community to help find him.
If you have any information on where Fernandes might be, call Killeen Police at (254) 200-7905 or contact the Fort Hood CID Office at 254-287-2722, the Fort Hood MP desk at 254-287-4001 or contact their local police department. Persons can also anonymously submit information here.