BOSTON — The family of a Brockton soldier who died near Fort Hood base in Killeen, Texas is demanding justice as officials remain silent about the circumstances surrounding his death.
In an interview with Boston 25, Fernandes’ family says authorities in Texas are sweeping the death of their son under the rug. They are demanding justice and say they want to know what really happened to Fernandes.
Family members shared videos of their loved one from the last time they went to visit him at the base.
At the age of 23, his family says he was always a happy-go-lucky man who constantly Facetimed with his mother and talked to his father and family almost daily. They believe there’s more to the story behind his death.
“They killed him, that’s what happened to him in Fort Hood,” said Ailinia Fernandes, Elder Fernandes’ mother.
With tears running down his mother’s face, Ailinia can’t come to terms with the mystery behind her son’s death.
“He was proud to be a soldier, he was proud to in the army,” said Ailinia.
Army officials said Fernandes reported that he was a victim of sexual assault in May, but after conducting an investigation they claimed Fernandes was unfounded.
“His brother knew, but he told him not to tell mom, not to worry mom,” said Ailinia.
The Army said Fernandes was last seen on Aug. 17th by members of his unit at a home in Killeen, outside of the base.
It was the same day Fernandes was released from the hospital.
“I never heard from Elder that Monday after the hospital visit,” said Ailinia.
Then, a day later, family members got the heartbreaking news that Fernandes' body was found hanging from a tree about 25 miles away, in Temple, Texas.
“There was very little if any investigation as of to what happened to him. None of the law enforcement agencies have looked inside the computer and the tablet. We are about to do that,” said Leonard Kesten, the family’s attorney.
“He wouldn’t kill himself, he would find a solution to solve any problem,” said Ailinia.
Fernandes' dad, Eugenio Fernandes, a director for the national police in Cape Verde says that, after a conversation in April with his son about Vanessa Guillen, another Fort Hood soldier who went missing months before Fernandes, things went silent.
“In the base there isn’t space for people to just disappear. I’m certain that he was investigating about the death of Vanessa because we had that conversation,” said Eugenio.
“I want justice for Elder. I want to know what happened to my son. He won’t kill himself. I know for sure,” said Eugenio.
Congressman Stephen Lynch and the Massachusetts delegation have called for an independent DOD investigation into Fernandes' death.
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