EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Family members of a missing Fort Bliss soldier say they now suspect he’s been the victim of foul play.
In a statement issued Monday, the Halliday family is calling on the FBI and other law enforcement agencies to conduct an independent, third-party investigation.
“After two weeks of activities in support of the search for the whereabouts of our son, Pfc. Richard Halliday, we fear that there may have been foul play in his disappearance,” the statement said.
Halliday, 21, was last seen on post July 23 after departing his barracks. He was assigned to D Battery, 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Aid Defense Artillery Brigade of the 32nd Army Air Missile Defense Command at Fort Bliss.
Fort Bliss earlier conducted a 200-man search in the Franklin Mountains, did flyovers and offered a $25,000 reward for the soldier’s whereabouts.
The family has carried out a vigorous search that includes social media posts and handing out fliers, visits around Fort Bliss and the international ports of entry between Juarez and El Paso. They have received tips that he may have been seen recently in Juarez and thus visited with the Chihuahua state Attorney General’s Office.
Family members also followed leads that took them to the Juarez bar areas and homeless camps. “We personally met with Chihuahua (state police) who, in turn, published public service announcements […] we have enlisted their support because we want to find our son but cannot do it on our own,” the statement said.
A spokesman for the Chihuahua Attorney General’s Office said the agency will review security camera footage and will be in touch with the U.S. consulate to find out if cameras on the American side of the international bridges caught a glimpse of the soldier crossing into Mexico. As of Monday, the state police had not confirmed that the soldier had crossed into Mexico at the time he went missing.
“The family came to file a missing person’s report and we will initiate a search protocol,” said Chihuahua AG’s Office spokesman Arturo Ruvalcaba.
The statement said the Halliday family plans to have a conference call this week with U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, to ask her to “cut through the red tape that is standing between the involvement of the FBI and other civilian agencies.”
Halliday is a third-generation soldier, with his grandfather Richard Schnabel having retired as a sergeant from Fort Bliss and his father Robert retiring after being a physician assistant for the Army in Europe.