The legal claim states that Sgt. Elder Fernandes died by suicide after months of bullying, which his family believes stemmed from Fernandes reporting to his superiors that he had been sexually assaulted.
The reported assault happened that April, just three months after he had been stationed at Fort Hood.
Fernandes sought help for his mental state at Darnell Army Medical Center at Fort Hood. After being discharged, Fernandes was last seen walking towards a Bell County interstate in August 2020. His body was found 8 days later.
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Fernandes's mother Ailina Fernandes told FOX 7 Austin in 2020 that her son had been in the Army for almost four years and was supposed to call her after he was discharged from the hospital.
"He will never just disappear and not call me and tell me mom I'm okay, don't worry, he won't do that for no reason. Something's going on with him. We just have to find him," she said; at the time she spoke to FOX 7, Fernandes's body had not yet been found.
The family is claiming negligent care against the hospital and is seeking $25 million in damages.
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text to 741-741
CLICK HERE for the warning signs and risk factors of suicide. Call 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential emotional support. You can also call 9-8-8 for help available 24/7.