EAGLE PASS, Texas — UPDATE: APRIL 25, 2022, 10:30 A.M.
Congressman Gonzales received confirmation from Border Patrol that SPC Bishop Evans’ body was found this morning.
“This morning SPC Evans’ body was found and identified by local authorities,” said Congressman Gonzales. “This young soldier made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of protecting and serving our country. He will never be forgotten.”
The name of a Texas National Guard member who remains missing after going into the river along the U.S.-Mexico border to help two migrants who appeared to be drowning was released on Sunday by officials.
The Texas Military Department identified the missing Guard member as Specialist Bishop E. Evans, 22, from Arlington.
Evans went missing on Friday as he jumped into the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass along the U.S.-Mexico border in a section of the river known to have strong currents.
Evans is assigned to A Battery, 4-133 Field Artillery Regiment in New Braunfels, the Texas Military Department said in a statement. He joined the Texas Army National Guard in May 2019. Evans left Texas but returned in 2020 after taking part in Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait.
A Texas National Guard member was missing Friday after going into the river along the U.S.-Mexico border to help a migrant who was struggling to swim across, according to a local sheriff.
A woman trying to cross the Rio Grande from Mexico made it about halfway to the other side when she appeared to begin going under the water, Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber said. The rescue attempt happened near Eagle Pass at a section of the river known for strong currents.
“He jumped in the river,” Schmerber said. “They never saw him come out.”
The Texas National Guard said in a statement that state troopers and Border Patrol agents were also helping. The attempted water rescue happened around 8:30 a.m., according to Schmerber.
The Guard member 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 southern border since launching last year. The multi-billion-dollar operation also includes a heavy presence of state troopers and authorizes Guard members to help make arrests.
The mission has come under scrutiny over migrants sitting in border jails for months on trespassing charges and low morale among Guard members over living conditions, long deployments and little to do.
Migrant rescues are common in the river along the Texas border, and the attempted crossings are also sometimes deadly. Schmerber said the bodies of as many as two migrants a week are sometimes found along his county’s section of the river.
Schmerber, a former Border Patrol officer, said Guard members do not usually enter the water to attempt rescues and this was the first incident he could recall. He estimated the portion of the river where the attempted rescue occurred was roughly 70 to 80 yards (64 to 73 meters) wide.
“That river is very dangerous. It’s strong currents,” Schmerber said. “It’s risky to cross the river like that.”