The parents of missing 21-year-old Fort Bliss soldier Richard Halliday reveal the Army took 36 days to tell them their son was missing from the base.
Rob and Patricia Halliday opened up on their desperate search for their son who was last seen at the El Paso, Texas base on July 23.
He disappeared after his family said he grew unhappy with the leadership in the Army and intended to leave. Before vanishing he had gotten in trouble for violating orders.
But his parents only found out he had gone missing and was considered a deserter on August 28.
‘Well, it was a horrific day. We hadn’t heard from Richard…He had told us he was going into the field, so we thought we’d give him a bit of time,’ Richard’s mother Patricia said in a radio interview on Crime Stories with Nancy Grace Wednesday.
‘But finally I just succumb to it so on the 28th of August, 36 days after he went missing, I call the battalion 143 ADA staff duty officer and they pass me to his Battery and the Battery Commander says your son is a deserter,’ her husband Rob said.
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
The couple share in a new interview on Crime Stories with Nancy Grace that they last spoke to their son on July 23 and on August 28th they called the base since they hadn’t heard from him. Richard pictured above with mother Patricia
‘On the 28th of August, 36 days after he went missing, I call the battalion 143 ADA staff duty officer and they pass me to his Battery and the Battery Commander says your son is a deserter,’ Rob said. Rob and Patricia Halliday together above
‘My mouth dropped open. I think the commander was almost in tears because they had a hard time of getting a hold of us but they didn’t try very hard if you ask me. I’m a 30-year veteran of the United States Army and in less than one minute they can get my phone number and where I live,’ Rob added.
Rob said he and his wife were left in shocking upon hearing the news. They had last spoken to their son on July 23.
‘It was absolutely shocking. What shocked me was the 36 days because our daughter goes, Mom get in the car, hurry up get to El Paso, get Richard. I was like 36 days. 36 days, where do we even start? 36 days,’ Patricia recalled.
The couple said they tried to get more information from the Army base, but base officials said they don’t look for AWOL or deserter soldiers.
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
Richard’s mother APatricia Halliday pictured praying as she continues to raise awareness about her son’s disappearance outside of Fort Bliss on Thursday October 8
‘During the two days after Pvt. Halliday fled from his escorts on July 24, his unit actively searched on post, notified all access points to Fort Bliss, contacted emergency rooms at local hospitals, notified on-post and community law enforcement, and called phone numbers on file for him,’ Lt. Col. Allie Payne, a spokeswoman for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss, said.
Later officials said he might have left the base as early as July 23.
The couple went to the media and started a Find Richard Halliday Facebook page to raise awareness and only after generating some buzz did the Army return to help them, they say.
Host Nancy Grace interviewed the couple in a new episode of Crime Stories with Nancy Grace shared Wednesday
‘I felt this was a failure in leadership in the US Army and that got some people’s attention… And that’s when the Army came back and contacted us to say we were using bad words .. it was to intimidate us,’ Patricia said.
The few leads they had in the investigation went cold.
‘We have a witnesss saying they saw him walk away, well that turned out to be a lie. They had no one that saw him walk away and they also said that they knew what he was wearing and that also turned out to be a lie,’ she said.
It’s now been nearly five months since Halliday went missing.
So far the search has included 200 soldiers searching through more than 200 miles of trails at Frankling Mountain National Park.
On Octover 12 and 20 human remains canine units searched four miles of McKelligon Canyon and searches have been done in homeless areas of El Paso, as per the El Paso Times.
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.
Halliday was adopted from Poland when he was five years old and 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.
His father said that Richard was planning to leave the Army.
He started having problems in November after returning from Qatar, his mom said to the Stars and Stripes newspaper.
‘We were told, there’s a lot of things we didn’t know about Richard from January till now. Things that happened to him. We did know that when he was in Qatar, I talked to him a lot, and he had some concerns about leadership and he was really thinking about leaving,’ Rob said.
Fort Bliss, located in west Texas, is the largest installation in the United States Army Forces Command and the second-largest in the Army overall
The last actual confirmed sighting of Halliday was on Fort Bliss. Halliday is a white man, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and weighs 162 pounds
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.
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.
Halliday is a white man, 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and weighs 162 pounds, according to the US Army Criminal Investigation Command aiding in the search for Halliday. He has black hair and hazel eyes.
His disappearance comes following the high-profile murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillen at the Fort Hood Army base in Killeen Texas in April.
Fort Bliss, located in west Texas, is the largest installation in the United States Army Forces Command and the second-largest in the Army overall.
There is a 25,000 reward for information on his whereabouts.
Anyone 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.