BOSTON (CBS) – The body of Sgt. Elder Fernandes, who was reported missing from Fort Hood in Texas last week, has been found, his attorney said Wednesday.

Natalie Khawam, who is representing the Fernandes family, was told about the discovery late Tuesday night. She said the body was found hanging in a tree near railroad tracks.

“They don’t know what happened, whether it was suicide or whether murder, but I’m going to tell you what they did to him, the blood on their hands, it’s a form of murder,” Khawam said at a press conference in Florida Wednesday afternoon.

Sgt. Elder Fernandes (Image credit US Army)

Fernandes, a 23-year-old from Brockton, was reported missing on Wednesday, August 19. Police said he was last seen August 17 when his staff sergeant dropped him off at his home in Killeen, Texas.

Fort Hood said Fernandes had transferred units after reporting sexual abuse.

“Look what happens when you report sexual harassment at Fort Hood,” Khawam said. “You get bullied, you get hazed, you get harassed, you turn up dead.”

Khawam said she has been in nonstop communication with lawmakers, demanding a congressional investigation into Fort Hood.

“This is not America,” Khawam said. “That base is toxic.”

Khawam is also representing the family of Vanessa Guillen, another Fort Hood soldier who went missing and was found dead. Guillen’s family appeared with Khawam at the press conference calling for justice for the soldiers.


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