Sheriff, Texas National Guard give conflicting reports of missing guardsman on border

A Texas Guardsmen and a Customs and Border Patrol agent discuss the lay of the land in 2019. (Photo by Sgt. Mark Otte)

Sig Christenson

San Antonio Express-News

Apr. 22—The Maverick County Sheriff’s Office said Friday that a Texas National Guard soldier drowned this morning after trying to rescue a migrant in the Rio Grande in Eagle Pass.

The Texas National Guard, in turn, denied the soldier was dead.

Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerver said the incident occurred around 8:30 a.m. in a particularly treacherous part of the river known to be muddy and deep. He did not know the GI’s identity but said he was around 23 years old.

The Texas National Guard, in a brief statement, also did not identify the soldier and said he had “gone missing along the river during a mission-related incident” and had not been found.

“We are aware of reports of a fatality, although those reports are inaccurate,” the guard stated. ” The Texas Military Department, Texas DPS and Border Patrol are working rapidly to find the soldier.”

The sheriff said the guardsman observed a woman in the river struggling and dived into the water, but vanished and hasn’t been seen since. Schmerver said the woman was safe and in Border Patrol custody but a rescue mission for the soldier had turned into an effort to recover the soldier’s body.

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