Two months after he went missing, officials have announced the death of a 40-year-old Fort Hood soldier who disappeared after driving his car into surging Clear Creek waters, according to a release.
Authorities on June 11 called off the search for Spc. Darius Cooper, the release said. More than 800 Army and Texas search-and-rescue personnel were unable to find his remains, the release said.
"Despite the diligent effort to find Specialist Cooper, it is heartbreaking for our Soldiers and the Fort Hood Family that we were not able to locate him," said Maj. Gen. John Uberti, deputy commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood in Texas. "Our thoughts, prayers and sincere condolences go to the Cooper Family, loved ones, and fellow Soldiers impacted by this tragedy."
Per regulation, an Army Casualty Program board determined the date of Cooper's death, the release said. They settled on April 11, the day his car was recovered without his body inside.
The culinary specialist and San Antonio native enlisted in 2008 and had been attached to 2nd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood since last June.
"I'd also like to thank the many emergency responders, not only Fort Hood's, but the state and local community agencies who came forward and tirelessly and professionally searched for Specialist Cooper," Uberti said.
The search turned deadly on April 17, when a search-and-rescue diver lost her life looking for the soldier.
"Our thoughts, prayers and condolences also go to the Family, loved ones, and friends of Morgan's Point Resort Police Department Dive Team member Lori Pohanka-Kalama who lost her life during the search," Uberti said.
Cooper's awards and decorations include two Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star, and Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star and the Combat Action Badge.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.