A Fort Hood soldier who disappeared from the base last week was located and arrested for speeding and launching a police chase in Louisiana.
US Army Pfc. Edward Patrick Casteel, 28, was arrested October 6 in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana for allegedly driving with a suspended license, speeding, and resisting arrest by flight on Interstate 20.
Fort Hood had listed Casteel as AWOL, or absent without leave, after he failed to report for duty on October 7 and said he left the base on his own accord.
However, Casteel’s fiancée Paradise Rodriguez said she witnessed him being ‘hazed’ at the base before he went missing and accused Fort Hood of negligence in handling his disappearance as he was held in the Louisiana jail for days before they announced he was located.
The scandal-hit base has faced scrutiny for its handling of soldier disappearances and deaths following the April murder of Vanessa Guillen.
Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Edward Patrick Casteel, 28, disappeared from the Killeen, Texas base last week and was listed as AWOL, meaning absent without leave. He was arrested on Tuesday October 6 in Lincoln Parish, Louisiana for speeding at 92mph in a 70mph zone
On October 6 a deputy saw Casteel speeding at 92mph in a 70mph zone in a Chevrolet Cobalt on eastbound Interstate 20 in Lincoln Parish, according to the arrest affidavit.
The deputy tried to pull him over but Casteel didn’t stop, triggering a high speed police chase.
The chase finally ended when a Ruston, Louisiana police officer pulled in front of Casteel’s car and he and the deputy boxed his vehicle in, according to KWTX.
The deputy brandished his service weapon and ordered Casteel to exit the vehicle.
‘When Casteel was asked why he didn’t stop, he was unable to give a consistent answer,’ but admitted to seeing the deputy’s car, lights and sirens.
He was arrested and booked into the Lincoln Parish Jail around 6.30pm and was charged with speeding and resisting arrest by flight.
The Fort Hood base said in an earlier statement that Casteel had left the post ‘on his own accord’ early just after midnight on the morning of October 7 and failed to report for duty later that morning. However, that timeline is inconsistent with arrest records as he was arrested the day prior on October 6
As of Wednesday he is still being held in lieu of $3,500 bond, according to online jail records.
Casteel is an infantryman assigned to 1-8 Cavalry Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.
The Fort Hood base said in an earlier statement that Casteel had left the post ‘on his own accord’ early just after midnight on the morning of October 7 and failed to report for duty later that morning.
However, that timeline is inconsistent with arrest records as he was arrested the day prior on October 6.
The base did not explain the discrepancy, but shared with DailyMail.com: ‘His well-being has been our highest priority since his disappearance, and we appreciate the interest and concern of our community. We are relieved he is safe’.
The incident is under investigation and Casteel’s chain of command is now in the process of coordinating with law enforcement officials to facilitate his transfer back to Fort Hood.
When asked how the base was not immediately aware of Casteel’s arrest, Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam said to Fox44: ‘I don’t know how to answer that to be honest.’
Casteel’s fiancée Paradise Rodriguez said she saw Casteel get ‘hazed’ by fellow soldiers on the base when they were video chatting on the phone. She said: ‘They had made a blockade and were shoving him, yanked his hat off his head, spit in it and on him, he did raise his finger, he didn’t swing at him
She shared a Facebook video Monday pleading for help in finding Casteel
His fiancée Paradise Rodriguez is demanding answers with Fort Hood’s handling of his case, alleging that he was hazed by fellow soldiers at the base before he vanished.
Rodriguez said she saw Casteel get into an encounter with others when they were on phone video chatting where they were allegedly hazing him.
‘They had made a blockade and were shoving him, yanked his hat off his head, spit in it and on him, he did raise his finger, he didn’t swing at him. I said Eddy, keep calm, go back into your room and we can just text. But I need you to go report that,’ Rodriguez said.
Fort Hood said they don’t know about any reports about that alleged incident.
The scandal-hit base has faced scrutiny for its handling of soldier disappearances and deaths following the April murder of Vanessa Guillen
Vanessa Guillen, 20, disappeared from the base in April after reporting she was being sexually harassed by a superior. Her remains were found nearby on June 30
Rodriguez said she asked for the search for Casteel to be public but they refused and she did it on her own sharing social media pleas and posters in the search for Casteel this week.
‘We chose not to do that based on the fact that he left, we saw that he had left on his own accord and based on the information available to us,’ Brautigam said on why the search did not go public.
She shared a video on Facebook on Monday pleading for help in finding Casteel, as the base did not yet know that he was in jail in Louisiana.
‘My darling, my best friend, my person has disappeared from the Fort Hood military base. This was last Tuesday October 6. The last time he reached out to me was 4.50pm that afternoon and no one has heard from him since then,’ she said in the video.
‘On Wednesday the military contacted me to tell me he was missing and since then the military is not listing him as an official missing person. Right now he is listed as simply AWOL,’ she added.
Timeline of Fort Hood disappearances/deaths
February 1, 2020: PVT Eric Christopher Hogan and PFC Anthony Nevelle Peak Jr. die in a car crash
March 1, 2020: SPC Shelby Tyler Jones is shot dead at a convenience store in Killeen
March 5, 2020: Spc. Christopher Wayne Sawyer found dead at his home. Foul play is not suspected.
March 14, 2020: SPC Freddy Beningo Delacruz Jr. is killed in a triple murder
March 23, 2020: Fort Hood soldier Spc. Jovino Jamel Roy, 22, was charged with murder after allegedly shooting former Fort Hood soldier Michael Steven Wardrobe, 22
April 22, 2020: Vanessa Guillen goes missing and is last seen in the parking lot of the base. She disappeared after telling her family she was being sexually harassed by a sergeant on the base.
May 18, 2020: Body of Army Pfc. Brandon S. Rosecrans, 27, was discovered with gunshot wounds and his Jeep was found three miles away engulfed in flames.
June 19, 2020: Search teams discover the corpse of missing soldier Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales following a tip to Army base investigators. Remains were found in a field in Killeen, just over 10 miles from Stillhouse Hollow Lake, five miles from Fort Hood.
July 1, 2020: First parts of Giullen’s remains found about 20 miles east of Fort Hood.
Spc. Aaron Robinson, 20, kills himself. Officials say he killed and dismembered Guillén and had the remains disposed of.
July 2, 2020: Army Specialist Miguel Yazzie, 33, died on July 2; Yazzie, of Window Rock, Arizona, was hospitalized for a medical condition the day before he died.
July 17, 2020: Pvt. Mejhor Morta, 26, of Pensacola, Florida was found dead July 17 in the vicinity of Stillhouse Hollow Lake, around 15 miles from the Fort Hood base.
August 2, 2020: The body of Spc. Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas, 24, is recovered from Stillhouse Hollow Lake following boating incident not far from where Morta was found.
August 12, 2020: Spc. Cole Jakob Aton, 22, of Kentucky died after he was hit by a car as he was assisting a minor accident scene
August 13, 2020: National Guard soldier, Sgt Bradley Moore dies during a training exercise at the base
August 19, 2020: Sgt. Elder Fernandes, 23, is reported missing after he was last seen on August 17.
August 25, 2020: The body of Fernandes is believed to have been found about 30 miles from Fort Hood
August 28, 2020: Pvt. Corlton L. Chee, 25, collapsed during fitness training at Fort Hood on August 28. He died two days later.