Two soldiers who were friends are missing from Fort Bliss. They haven’t been seen since December 19. Jake Obad Mathis and Melvin Jones were last seen in a 2013 Black Chevrolet Camaro with Texas plates HTV-9983. And family members are searching for answers.
Update: 3//16/2017 – Both soldiers were found and returned to Fort Bliss in late January and February. No information on disciplinary action was provided. Reports from Military.com stated that Obad- Mathis was gone for 30 days, which makes him considered a “deserter.” The information was released by the Army on Wednesday.
For both men, their cell phones are off, and there has been no activity on social media. Neither man has contacted their family, which is reportedly an unusual situation.
Jones was scheduled to pick up his father from the El Paso International airport on the night of Dec 22. His father had tickets to the Sun Bowl, and the two planned to attend the game together. But his son never showed up, leaving his father at the airport.
“When I got off the plane and looking for him and not having him looking for me, yea that was the hardest.” Duane Jones, Melvin’s father.
Mathis has a habit of contacting his family, but they have not heard from him either.
“He has never gone for a week without touching with his family. He hasn’t gone for two days without getting in touch with someone in his family. He was constantly reaching out and so this is, in his whole life this has never happened.” Kathy Mathis, Jake’s mother
They were last seen together on base. No one knew they were missing until Jake failed to show up to work for two consecutive days. The Army has declared Jake Mathis AWOL, but since Jones had leave until January, they don’t consider him missing.
The family has tried to report them missing with the local police but because they are from Fort Bliss, military police are in charge. There is red tape to clear before the search can even begin.
“We can’t do anything for you, we can’t trace the phones, we can’t go into his apartment, we can’t do any of that until after the paperwork is processed for “AWOL” and it’s 30 days after that.” Duane Jones
Jake Obad-Mathis was due to spend Christmas with his Commanding Sergeant, because he had to stay on base during the holiday.
El Paso Proud reported,
Obad-Mathis is described as Asian American, 5-feet-3-inches tall, weighing approximately 120 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes and a tattoo of a Japanese cherry tree on his right rib cage and two phrases on his forearms.
Jones is described as black, with a light complexion. 5-feet-3-inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds. He has dark hair and hazel eyes. He is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
If you have any information on Obad-Mathis or Jones’ whereabouts or have seen them in the past two weeks, you’re asked to call the El Paso Police Department at (915) 832-4400 or the Warriors Aftermath and Recovery Group at (208) 724-7123.
With red tape in the way, the families are actively looking for help. They’ve gone to the media and the public for answers and tips.