Army Pvt. Richard Halliday went missing in July 2020 while he was assigned to Fort Bliss, Texas. On April 24, 2024, the Army informed his family that a board of inquiry had determined he had died on July 23, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Robert Halliday).

The Army has determined that Pvt. Richard Halliday died the day he went missing from Fort Bliss, Texas nearly four years ago, an Army spokesman said, though Halliday’s body remains missing.

“On April 24, 2024, the Army informed the Halliday family that the preponderance of evidence provided during a board of inquiry supported changing the duty status of Pvt. Richard Halliday from missing to deceased,” Bryce Dubee told Task & Purpose. “The BOI [board of inquiry] determined that Pvt. Halliday died on July 23, 2020.”

The Army determined that Halliday died on July 23, 2020 because that was the last day when he was accounted for by his unit, Dubee said. Halliday’s body has not been located, but the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, or CID, continues to look for his whereabouts.

However, Halliday’s mother told Task & Purpose that her family is skeptical of the board of inquiry’s findings.

“The Army doesn’t have a point of view except for that he’s dead – that’s their point of view,” Patricia Halliday said. “They don’t know where he’s at. They don’t know where his remains are. That’s their point of view. And we want to go on record to say they don’t have a point of view because everything that they have tried to allege, we have had to investigate it and we have found it wanting – nothing behind it.”

Though the Army has changed Halliday’s duty status, the legal investigation of his disappearance remains open. “From a law enforcement perspective, CID is still maintaining Pvt. Halliday as a missing person in their Cold Case Unit at Quantico, VA,” Dubee said.

No further information has been publicly released about how Army officials determined that Halliday had died or the circumstances of his death.

Halliday enlisted in the Army in April 2018. At the time of his disappearance, he was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment. An internal Army investigation into the battalion’s command climate found in 2021 that the unit was severely strained and suffering from poor morale at the time due to relentless training and deployment requirements.

However, the investigator found no evidence of toxic leadership in the battalion or a command climate, “that forced soldiers to feel that they had no choice but to go AWOL.”

“The Army expresses its deepest condolences to the Halliday family and notes that this determination will allow us to further support the family under the Army Casualty Program,” Dubee said. “We ask anyone with information about the case to contact the Army Criminal Investigation Division, which continues to maintain their investigation.”

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Patricia Halliday said she believes her son was murdered and she claimed that CID has interfered with her son’s case for the past several years.

After speaking with witnesses and other people for three years, Richard Halliday’s family believes he was forcibly removed from his barracks in July 2020 and killed at Fort Bliss, said Paticia Halliday. She said that she believes her son was buried in multiple locations based on information provided by credible whistleblowers and law enforcement officials.

“This is another Vanessa Guillén story,” she said, referring to the 2020 death of a soldier assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, which has since been renamed Fort Cavazos.

An independent panel later found that inexperienced CID agents had made several rookie mistakes while investigating Guillén’s disappearance. The soldier suspected of killing Guillén died by suicide after being released by police. A Texas woman was sentenced in August to 30 years in prison for helping to hide Guillén’s body.   

When asked about Patricia Halliday’s comments about CID allegedly interfering with the investigation into her son’s death, the division issued a statement to Task & Purpose saying the Army has employed “all available resources” to determine Halliday’s whereabouts since he went missing in July 2020.

“After an extensive and thorough investigation by the Fort Bliss Criminal Investigation Division Office, Pvt. Halliday’s case was transferred to the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division Cold Case Unit on June 30, 2022, where Army CID continues to follow up on all credible leads and information concerning the whereabouts of Pvt. Halliday,” a CID spokesperson said. “The Army has a very deliberate process to find our service members and we will not stop that process until we have explored every option to that end. We remind the public to report any information regarding Pvt. Richard Halliday to the Army CID.”

Halliday’s father Robert, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, said that his son came from a military family that has served this country for a total of 76 years.

“Richard grew into a strong, beautiful young man, traveling the world with his family,” Robert Halliday told Task & Purpose. “He believed in law and order, and in protecting those who could not protect themselves. As a result, Richard aspired to a career as an agent serving in the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Division. This is confirmed by paperwork and CID agent Marlon Soto. He was the distinguished Honor Graduate for his cycle in basic training and advanced individual training, achieving the top rank.”

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