Officials at Fort Hood in Texas are asking for the public’s help in locating a soldier who was reported missing since Friday.
A news release by the Army base says private first-class soldier Jennifer Sewell, described as a 5-foot-5 African American female with brown hair and brown eyes, has not been seen since leaving her barracks around 4 p.m. Thursday. Her unit said she did not show up for her duties Friday.
“Attempts to contact Sewell by law enforcement, her chain-of-command and her family have been unsuccessful,’’ the release said, adding that Sewell appears to have left “for unknown reasons on her own accord’’ and does not own a car.
Sewell, a member of the Regimental Support Squadron, received a commendation for her contributions on July 16.
The Fort Hood website describes the base as “the largest active duty armored post in the U.S. Armed Forces’’ with almost 40,000 soldiers.
Though known as “the Great Place,’’ the nearly 80-year-old Army post near Killeen in central Texas has seen its share of turmoil in the last several years.
On Nov. 5, 2009, Major Nidal Malik Hasan launched the largest mass shooting to date at an American military base, killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 at Fort Hood.
Five years later, the installation was the site of another inside attack when Army Specialist Ivan Lopez gunned down three people and wounded 12 others before turning the weapon on himself and committing suicide.
More recent history has been troubling as well.
Vanity Fair reported in July that at least 39 soldiers from the facility had died — 13 by suicide — or gone missing in 2020, and that five had been murdered.
One of them was 20-year-old Vanessa Guillen, whose disappearance and killing by a fellow soldier drew national attention. Earlier this year, the U.S. Army confirmed that Guillen was sexually harassed and further retaliated against at Fort Hood, which her family in Houston consistently alleged in their fight for criminal justice reform in the military.
A review of the case resulted in 14 senior officers getting disciplined.
Contributing: Heather Osbourne, USA TODAY Network