A Texas Army National Guard soldier was found dead after he went missing while helping others, authorities say.

Specialist Bishop E. Evans was “trying to selflessly help migrants who appeared to be drowning as they tried to cross the river from Mexico into the U.S, on Friday April 22, 2022,” the Texas Military Department said in an April 25 news release. That was the last time he was seen alive.

Early reports from the Texas Rangers said the two migrants were crossing into the U.S. illegally and involved in narcotics trafficking, according to an April 23 statement. They were taken into custody by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“We are devastated by the loss of a member of our Guard family,” Maj. Gen. Tom Suelzer, adjutant general for Texas, said in a statement. “We recognize the selflessness of this heroic Soldier who put his life above others in service to our state and national security. The Texas Military Department sends our deepest condolences to the family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.”

Evans was assigned to Operation Lone Star, an initiative started by Gov. Greg Abbott in March 2021 to curb illegal immigration and crime at the Texas border, including human trafficking, smuggling and trespassing.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the death of SPC Bishop E. Evans,” Abbott said in a statement shared to Twitter. “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.”

In an earlier statement, Abbott described Evans as a “hero who risked his life in service to Texas & America.”

When asked about responsibility for his death Psaki says Evans was an employee of the Texas National Guard.

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