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Texas Guardsman’s body found after border rescue attempt

Authorities say the body of Spc. Bishop Evans, 22, was found three days after he was reported...
Authorities say the body of Spc. Bishop Evans, 22, was found three days after he was reported missing on the Rio Grande. The local sheriff has said Evans jumped into the river to help a woman who appeared in distress while trying to swim over from Mexico.(Source: Twitter/Greg Abbott via CNN)
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 12:31 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 25, 2022 at 12:40 PM CDT
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EAGLE PASS, Texas (AP) — Search crews have recovered the body of a Texas National Guard member who went missing after jumping in the river on the U.S.-Mexico border to help a migrant who was struggling to swim across.

Authorities say the body of Spc. Bishop Evans was found Monday, three days after he was reported missing on the Rio Grande.

The local sheriff has said Evans jumped into the river without his jacket or radio to help a woman who appeared in distress while trying to swim over from Mexico.

Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber said Evans took off his jacket and left his radio before going into the water around 8:30 a.m. Friday.

“He jumped in the river,” Schmerber said. “They never saw him come out.”

The two migrants were taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. According to the military department, authorities believe the migrants were involved in drug smuggling.

Migrant rescues are common in the river along the Texas border, and the attempted crossings are also sometimes deadly.

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.”

Evans 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 (1,920-kilometer) southern border since launching last year. The multibillion-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.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.