EAGLE PASS, Texas (AP) — Search crews on Monday 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.
The body of Spc. Bishop Evans was found three days after he was reported missing in the Rio Grande near the border city of Eagle Pass. 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.
“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,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement Monday.
The body was found near the boat ramp of a bridge in Eagle Pass, said Democratic state Sen. Roland Gutierrez, whose district includes Eagle Pass.
Migrant rescues are common in the river along the Texas border, and the attempted crossings are also sometimes deadly. Maverick County Sheriff Tom Schmerber said the bodies of as many as two migrants a week are sometimes found along his county’s section of the river.
Evans was assigned to Abbott’s sprawling border mission known as Operation Lone Star. Gutierrez said Evans is at least the fifth Guard member known to have died during the mission that began last year. He called for an inquest into their deaths.
A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Gutierrez as a state representative. He is a state senator.