FORT BLISS, Texas -- Despite more than 500 man hours devoted to search efforts over nearly six months, officials said Wednesday they still lacked answers in the disappearance of a Fort Bliss Army private and put out a new public call for leads to help locate him.
Pvt. Richard Halliday, 21, was last seen on July 23 of last year leaving his barracks room. He failed to report for duty the next day and the unit to which he’s assigned reported him missing.
Since then, Fort Bliss commander Maj. Gen. Sean Bernabe said special agents with the Army's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) "have devoted over 540 investigative hours on this case, issued 50 subpoenas and five warrants, conducted over 160 interviews, and executed eight local searches," without any success in finding him.
In the months after the Army initially declared him AWOL, hundreds of soldiers and volunteers conducted searches both on- and off-post looking for him, including along a 20-mile stretch of the Franklin Mountains and in McKelligon Canyon.
Bernabe acknowledged Wednesday that Halliday's disappearance had prompted a policy change after the soldier's parents complained it took the Army more than a month to notify them that their son was missing.
"Despite attempts, we failed to make timely initial contact with the Halliday Family when we discovered Pvt. Halliday missing. This failure caused us to lose the trust of the Halliday Family. We are working hard to regain their trust. Our failure drove us to change the procedures we take here at Fort Bliss when we discover that a soldier’s whereabouts are unknown,” he explained.
The Army has offered a reward of up to $25,000 for credible information about Halliday's disappearance. Tipsters, who can remain anonymous, may call the CID at 915-568-1700 or go online to cid.army.mil.
"Fort Bliss continues to make a broad appeal for information from the public to help us find Pvt. Richard Halliday," Bernabe told reporters.
Fort Bliss has been the focus recently of another high profile case also under investigation by the CID involving the death of 19-year-old PFC Asia Graham. She was found dead in her barracks room on New Year's eve amid a sexual assault allegation she had leveled against another soldier at the post.