Rep. Lynch And MA Delegation Call For Independent DoD Watchdog Investigation Into The Death Of Sergeant Elder Fernandes

Aug 29, 2020 Issues: Committee on Oversight and Reform, National Security

Boston, MA – Yesterday, U.S. Representative Stephen F. Lynch, Chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security, and U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Edward J. Markey (D-MA), along with U.S. Representatives Richard E. Neal (D-MA-01), James P. McGovern (D-MA-02), Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-MA-04), Katherine Clark (D-MA-05), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA-07), and members of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) William Keating (D-MA-09), Seth Moulton (D-MA-06) and Lori Trahan (D-MA-03), formally requested that the Department of Defense (DoD) Inspector General conduct a complete and thorough investigation into the circumstances that led to the disappearance and death of Sergeant Elder Fernandes, a 23 year-old native of Brockton, Massachusetts, who was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.

SGT Fernandes was reportedly last seen by members of his unit in Killeen, Texas on August 17, 2020. On August 25, 2020, SGT Fernandes was found dead about 25 miles east of the military base. Prior to his disappearance, SGT Fernandes was reportedly hospitalized between August 11 and August 17, 2020. SGT Fernandes reported an incident of abusive sexual contact and at the time of his disappearance there was an ongoing law enforcement investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division into SGT Fernandes’ allegation.

“We are heartbroken by SGT Fernandes’ death. As Members of Congress representing SGT Fernandes and his family, we demand a full and transparent investigation into the circumstances of his death, including allegations of abusive sexual contact, bullying, and retaliation,” the lawmakers wrote. “We also ask you to investigate the Army’s response to SGT Fernandes’ disappearance and whether Army leaders kept the Fernandes family appropriately informed about the search for their missing relative until he was found on August 25.”

The lawmakers continued: “We must do more than grieve the loss of SGT Fernandes—we must seek justice and answers for his family.  That starts with a full and complete investigation. “

You can read the letter here.