The identity of the National Guard member who went missing on Friday near the Rio Grande has been released by the Texas Military Department. The guardsman, Specialist Bishop E. Evans, 22, is feared to have drowned, though the authorities are still searching for him.
Mr. Evans is believed to have gone missing “following his selfless efforts to rescue two migrants who appeared to be drowning while crossing the river from Mexico into the U.S.,” the department said in a statement on Sunday.
Mr. Evans is a field artilleryman from Arlington, Texas, who was part of a regiment in New Braunfels, the department said. His career includes service in Kuwait and in Iraq, where he supported Special Operations Forces for a time. He joined the National Guard three years ago, according to the statement.
Officials said that Mr. Evans had been near the Rio Grande as part of a mission, Operation Lone Star, that was ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott with the aim of reducing illegal border crossings. The Texas Military Department said on Saturday that the two migrants Mr. Evans was trying to rescue were drug traffickers and had survived. They were being held in custody by the U.S. Border Patrol, the department said.
The authorities began an exhaustive search for the guardsman on Friday morning, the department said. Over the weekend, the multiday search was halted when the river’s current made it impossible for dive teams to enter the river. By Sunday morning, the search had resumed.
The Rio Grande is considered by experts to be a treacherous river to cross. Maverick County, where Mr. Evans had been serving, has recently seen about two drownings per week, according to Sheriff Tom Schmerber, a former U.S. Border Patrol officer.