EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — A Fort Bliss soldier, Richard Halliday, is nowhere to be found.
For more than 70 days, the 21-year-old’s family has been on a journey to find him.
KTSM 9 News spoke with Halliday’s parents, who arrived in El Paso from Florida last month to raise awareness about their missing son.
On each of their first five days here, the family held a rally in front of the Fort Bliss gates.
“Bring my son home!” his mother, Patricia Halliday said into a bullhorn. “Hashtag, ‘Find Richard Halliday!”
Richard was last seen on post on July 23, earlier than was previously reported by Fort Bliss. He reportedly left his barracks wearing gray or turquoise cargo shorts, a gray T-shirt, and a charcoal gray zip-up hoodie, with dark gray running shoes with red, yellow, and white paint stains.
Richard was born in Poland. The Hallidays adopted him and his older brother and brought them to the U.S. Richard was about 5 years old and his brother was almost 8 at the time.
“And um, I have to remind myself they are adopted,” Patricia said.
The search for Richard has taken the family across the border into Juarez, Mexico.
“We’re going into the city of Juarez,” Richard’s father, Robert Halliday, said on videos posted on social media. “We have some leads of where Richard may be.”
During an interview with KTSM, the Hallidays described Richard as intelligent and talented.
“He likes to play the piano,” Patricia said. “Loves the outdoors.”
They said Richard is also very independent, which is why he decided to join the military, where he quickly excelled.
Richard was No. 1 in basic training, winning a $500 reward. And, they say, he loved being deployed. The Army last deployed Halliday to Qatar.
When he returned from deployment, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and that’s when his parents say everything changed.
“Thirty-six days went by and we didn’t hear from him,” said Patricia, adding that it’s something Richard would never do.
Richard’s father called Fort Bliss officials, only to find out his son was gone. Fort Bliss told the family that Richard went AWOL, or absent without leave. But, they say, the military never reached out to them.
“Thirty-six days. What do we do, where do we go?” Patricia said. “It took like two days to think things through … start calling people.”
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for credible information that leads to Richard’s whereabouts.
“We take this very seriously and a host of other investigative techniques have been employed in the search for Pvt. Halliday and we will continue to investigate until we determine what happened to this Soldier,” Chris Grey, spokesman for Army CID said in a statement. “If anyone has any information, we ask you to come forward and share it with us.”
There is no indication of foul play or any specific suspicious circumstances surrounding his disappearance, Army officials said.
After Fort Bliss’ Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) requested assistance, CID Special Agents took over the investigation on Sept. 1.
CID conducted an in-depth forensic search of Halliday’s barracks room, employing specially trained forensic science officers using state-of-the-art forensic methods, according to Army officials. The search did not reveal any signs of foul play or suspicious activity.
Army officials said special agents and local law enforcement have interviewed dozens of military personnel, as well as friends and family. Agents have searched more than 80 barracks rooms, as well as interviewed homeowners and conducted consensual searches of numerous homes.
Dozens of special agents, along with MPs and DES personnel, recently searched a 6-square-mile radius using his unit as the center point. Sinkholes, water drainages, water sewage systems, water canals, on- and off-post railroad tracks, and associated buildings are some of the places searched. Agents also searched homeless areas in the nearby areas, as well as in Downtown El Paso.
Richard’s family has also been hard at work, getting the community involved.
“El Paso has really embraced us,” Patricia said.
When asked what gives them the strength to keep searching, Patricia pointed to the family of another missing soldier: Vanessa Guillen.
“Your courage domino-affected on us … to find our son,” Patricia said. “At least you can find some closure and peace … by finding her.”
The family says they’ll continue to do whatever it takes to find their son, “even if it means going to the ends of the earth.”
“We love you, we miss you come home,” Patricia said.
Richard is described as a Caucasian male who is 5-foot-9 and weighs 162 pounds. He is assigned to D Battery, 1-43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air Missile Defense Command at Fort Bliss.
Persons with information can contact the Fort Bliss CID Office at (915) 568-1700; the Fort Bliss Military Police at (915) 744-1237; or contact their local police department. Persons can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html.