In an updated release on Saturday, the TMD said the soldier “selflessly attempted” to help two migrants who appeared to be drowning as they illegally crossed the river from Mexico to the United States.
“Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Border Patrol continue to support TMD with the Texas Rangers as the lead for the investigation that began yesterday when the service member went missing,” the release said.
According to initial reports from the Texas Rangers, the two migrants are suspected of being “involved in illicit transnational narcotics trafficking” and are currently in the custody of US Customs and Border Patrol.
The missing soldier’s family was notified about the disappearance on Friday night, according to the release.
The guard member’s identity will be released “at a later date,” the department said. The search will continue until the department “exhausts” all available resources, the agency said.
CNN reported Friday the soldier was assigned to Operation Lone Star, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to combat what he has called a crisis at the US-Mexico border.
The governor said his office is working “with the Texas National Guard and other law enforcement agencies as they search for the missing soldier in Eagle Pass.”