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mum's plea Family of Irish-born soldier gone missing in the US ask public to help find their son


Family and friends of a missing US soldier who was brought up in Longford will gather in a park in El Paso Texas this weekend to release red balloons in a bid to raise awareness of their plight. 

Private Richard Halliday (21), who is originally from Drumroe in Ardagh, disappeared from the barracks in Fort Bliss where he served in the US Army. The last time he spoke to his mother was on July 23, 2020.

It was only after 36 days, when his parents hadn’t heard from him, that Rob, his father, called the unit and was told his son had gone AWOL and was by that time regarded as a deserter.

When Richard’s parents discovered that his unit wasn’t even searching for him they decided to go to El Paso to get more information.

“We were told our son was no longer there, that he was a deserter,” Richard’s mother Patricia said.

“By then, it was day 36. So much time had passed. So much time wasted.”

At a press conference held by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) in February, officials said they still had no answers in the disappearance of the Fort Bliss Army private, despite more than 500 man hours devoted to search efforts.

“We still don’t know what happened and we still don’t have our son,” Patricia said at the time. “All I know is you just can’t disappear from the barracks without someone knowing. Someone knows something and all we want is for them to come forward.”

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Patricia and Robert adopted Richard from Poland when he was just five years old. They were stationed in Germany until Robert retired from the military. But the family continued to live abroad in Germany and in Ireland for most of Richard’s life.

They bought a cottage at Drumroe and were very involved in the Ardagh and Longford community where they lived for over ten years, through the church, girl guides and karate.

When Richard, the youngest of the four children, completed his Leaving Cert, he decided to visit his oldest sister, Hannah, who was by now married and living in Seoul, South Korea.

It is from there that he decided to join the US Army as a volunteer.

Being the son and grandson of military veterans, Richard was determined to join the Army and pay his way through college.

But six months before he disappeared, Richard began to talk about wanting to get out of the Army and said that he was having issues with army leadership.

“The first 14 months, he did really well,” Patricia said. “But then something happened and he seemed different. But he didn’t want to confide in us. We encouraged him to finish.”

After Richard’s disappearance, officials followed multiple tips and leads, but none led them to Richard. There was no indication of foul play or any specific suspicious circumstances surrounding his disappearance after CID officials conducted an in-depth forensic search of his barracks room.

Richard’s family has created their own tip hotline and the Facebook page “Find Richard Halliday” in the hope of collecting information that could lead to their son. Patricia goes “live” on the page nearly every day with updates about Richard’s case or to make a plea for any new tips.

“We just want to find our son,” Patricia pleaded. “Any bit of information might be what finally leads us to him.”

As part of their campaign they will be releasing red balloons on Saturday.

“Richard's favorite color is red,” his mother writes. “We hope to color the sky red as a Red Alert, and to not only raise awareness for our First US Army officially designated missing soldier, but also to shine the light of awareness on all missing loved ones.”

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