By Hannah Sarisohn, Rosa Flores and Emma Tucker, CNN
Texas officials have identified Bishop E. Evans as the National Guard soldier who went missing on Friday as he attempted to rescue two migrants who were crossing the Rio Grande River.
The Texas Military Department (TMD) said in a news release that Evans, a specialist, is a 22-year-old field artilleryman from Arlington, Texas, and has served in the guard for almost two years.
Evans was deployed to Kuwait with assignments in Iraq as part of Operation Spartan Shield before serving on Texas’ southern border, according to the release.
CNN reported Friday Evans was assigned to Operation Lone Star, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to combat what he has called a crisis at the US-Mexico border.
The TMD, along with both state and federal rescue and safety agencies, have yet to locate Evans.
Dive teams ceased operations along the Rio Grande Saturday evening as the river’s current continued at an “increased” pace, the release said.
Three airboats from the state’s Department of Public Safety were added to the rescue efforts Sunday morning, according to TMD.
Local law enforcement on Friday said Evans tried to rescue a woman who was crossing the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas, and “never came up,” according to CNN’s reporting.
In an updated release on Saturday, the TMD said the soldier “selflessly attempted” to help two migrants who appeared to be drowning as they illegally crossed the river from Mexico to the United States.
“Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Border Patrol continue to support TMD with the Texas Rangers as the lead for the investigation that began yesterday when the service member went missing,” the release said.
According to initial reports from the Texas Rangers, the two migrants are suspected of being “involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking” and are currently in the custody of US Customs and Border Patrol.
Evans’ family was notified about the disappearance on Friday night, according to the release.
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