Authorities Find Body of Texas Guardsman Who Drowned Trying to Rescue Migrants: 'A Hero'

Specialist Bishop E. Evans, 22, went missing after he tried to help migrants who appeared to be drowning in a river, the Texas Military Department said

Bishop Evans
Photo: Greg Abbott/Twitter

The body of a 22-year-old member of the Texas National Guard has been found days after he tried to save migrants who appeared to be drowning.

On Monday, the Texas Military Department announced that Specialist Bishop E. Evans was found dead after he went missing in a river on the border of Mexico and the U.S. on Friday.

"We are devastated by the loss of a member of our Guard family," Maj. Gen. Tom Suelzer, Adjutant General for Texas, said in a statement.

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

Evans had been assigned to Operation Lone Star, a border security initiative created by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, according to the department.

Along with the Texas Military Department, members of Texas DPS and Border Patrol helped in the search for Evans.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott made a post on his personal Instagram account on November 17 showing the shipping containers and National Guard members lining the area near the river in Eagle Pass "to create a steel wall along the southern border". Abbott is also attempting to raise funds for a private wall, according to local media reports.

In a post to Twitter Sunday, Abbott called Evans a "hero who risked his life in service to Texas & America."

Abbott issued an additional statement after Evans was found dead on Monday.

"We are heartbroken to learn of the death of SPC Bishop E. Evans who was reported missing in Eagle Pass on Friday," he said. "Our National Guard soldiers risk their lives every day to serve and protect others and we are eternally grateful for the way SPC Evans heroically served his state and country."

"I thank the members of the Texas National Guard, the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, Border Patrol, and local law enforcement for working around the clock to locate this soldier," he continued. "The Texas Military Department will continue to provide more updates to the public as they become available. I ask that Texans join Cecilia and me in praying for the family and friends of SPC Evans as they grieve this heartbreaking loss."

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Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber told CBS affiliate KTVT that Evans took off his jacket and radio before heading into the river to help the migrants.

"He jumped in the river," he recalled. "They never saw him come out."

According to the outlet, two migrants were taken into custody and are believed to have been involved in drug smuggling.

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