The family of a soldier missing for seven months have asked the US Army to increase a reward for information to $50,000 as searches for him continue on both sides of the US-Mexico border.
Private Richard Halliday, 21, was last seen on July 24, 2020 by soldiers at the Fort Bliss base in El Paso, Texas although his family have been told he was subsequently spotted in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez.
Relatives of Halliday and volunteers started searching around Ciudad Juárez on Wednesday, as his parents called on the Army to double its $25,000 reward for information on his whereabouts.
The family is also asking the government to grant immunity to anyone who comes forward with information about his whereabouts.
Halliday hasn’t been seen since July. In October the search for Halliday extended across the border into Juarez, Mexico where a missing person’s report has been filed with the local attorney general’s office
Activists, volunteers and relatives of missing persons take part in a search for American soldier Richard Halliday, who according to his family went missing in El Paso, Texas, U.S., since July 2020 and they believe he crossed into Mexico, on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on Wednesday
A man digs as part of the search in the border town for Halliday
The family said Halliday was ‘begging for money’ when he was seen in Ciudad Juárez.
David Pena, a lawyer for the Action Group for Human Rights and Social Justice, said Halliday’s family told officials in the state of Chihuahua that they had received information that he may be in Ciudad Juárez.
Authorities said they did not have the resources to carry out any searches so on Wednesday about 40 people, armed with picks and shovels, began to search an area about 12 miles from the border.
Halliday family representative Sammy Carrejo told laprensalatina.com there was information the soldier may have been attacked at a property in the area.
Halliday’s mother Patricia appeared in a social media video in October last year revealing she had learned her soldier son had allegedly been seen in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juárez ‘looking pretty bad, even asking for money for food.’
Speaking on a Facebook Live video on Wednesday, she said: ‘Today is day 230 since Richard disappeared, vanished from the barracks right there at Fort Bliss.’
Halliday disappeared after his family said he grew unhappy with the leadership in the Army and intended to leave.
Before vanishing he had been in trouble for violating orders.
But his parents only found out he had gone missing and was considered a deserter on August 28.
Officials said they still lack answers in the disappearance of the Fort Bliss Army private, despite more than 500 man hours going into the search for him.
They have carried out searches in the area around Fort Bliss, including sinkholes, water sewage systems, canals, homeless shelters and approximately 20 miles of trails in the Franklin Mountain State Park and Indian Peak Trail.
An in-depth forensic search of his barracks room has found no indication of foul play or suspicious circumstances.
Halliday’s father Rob and mother Patricia (pictured)are asking the U.S. Army to double its $25,000 reward to help find out what has happened to their son
Volunteers search for missing U.S. soldier Richard Halliday on the outskirts of Ciudad Juarez onWednesday
In October the search for Halliday first extended across the border into Juarez, Mexico, where a missing person’s report had been filed with the local attorney general’s office.
KTSM-TV reported then that the Interpol and the U.S. Consulate in Mexico have joined in on the search for him.
Halliday was adopted from Poland when he was five years old. Speaking to Dateline, Mrs Halliday explained how he was home-schooled and learned to speak German and Korean. He also played the piano and held a black belt in karate.
The last confirmed sighting of Halliday was on Fort Bliss. Halliday is a white man, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and weighs 162 pounds
Richard’s mother Patricia Halliday pictured praying as she continues to raise awareness about her son’s disappearance outside of Fort Bliss on Thursday October 8, 2020
Halliday’s family have also asked the U.S. Government to grant immunity to anyone with information to solve the mystery of where the soldier, pictured with his mother, is
He had a bright start in his military career, finishing as number one in basic training and winning three Army Achievement medals in less than 14 months, according to his father Rob.
After the first 14 months, Patricia said that her son ‘seemed different’ and unhappy, but they encouraged him to finish.
Halliday started to run into problems with the Army following his return from Qatar, which included driving under the influence of alcohol despite being under the legal drinking age of 21.
The Hallidays were only made aware of their son’s disappearance on day 36, or August 28 after they were informed by his commander in order that he had reportedly deserted the military.
‘We were told our son was no longer there, that he was a deserter,’ Patricia said.
‘By then, it was day 36. So much time had passed. So much time wasted.’
After he was missing his parents later learned that he had been disciplined for drunken driving. El Paso police arrested him on January 25 on a DWI charge.
The parents of missing 21-year-old Fort Bliss Pvt. Richard Halliday (above) reveal the Army told them their son had disappeared 36 days after he was last seen
On March 28 he was also disciplined for unintentionally crossing the border into Mexico.
The couple say though there have been reported sightings of Richard, they have seen the tips and don’t believe them to be true.
The last actual confirmed sighting of Halliday was on Fort Bliss.
A GoFundMe page set up by Pvt. Halliday’s family in the wake of his disappearance has so far raised $16,360.
‘Where is Richard? We need to look for him now. We need reward money to get more help,’ the page reads.
‘We need to create a crowd to attract attention, to create an echo to let Richard know we are here for him, he has a hope and a future. We need to travel and stay in El Paso.
‘We need fliers and banners.’