Soldier's body found in bay near Corpus Christi

January 3, 2009 7:22:26 PM PST
The body of a soldier missing since he apparently drove his car off a pier the day after Christmas was found along a shoreline Saturday morning. Aransas County Sheriff Bill Mills said his office received a call just after 9 a.m. Saturday and recovered the body of Jamie Wagner Sengvanhpheng from Copano Bay, near Corpus Christi and a few miles inland from the Texas Gulf Coast.

Mills said the family was notified and the body was turned over to the Corpus Christi medical examiner for an autopsy. He said he would have no other details before receiving the coroner's report.

Sengvanhpheng, 21, was home on leave from Fort Bragg, N.C., and visiting family in Rockport, about 30 miles north of Corpus Christi. He disappeared after hanging out with friends at a bar late Christmas night.

His car was found submerged in Copano Bay on Dec. 26, but Sengvanhpheng was not inside. He had driven off the 1 1/4-mile Copano Bay Fishing Pier, crashing through two barricades before reaching the water.

Sengvanhpheng had just transferred from the 20th Engineer Brigade to the Warrior Transition Battalion, Fort Bragg spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica Fimbres said last week.

The battalion is usually for soldiers preparing to leave the military for medical or other reasons, though sometimes it's a holding area while waiting for the Army Medical Board to decide if they can stay in, Fimbres said. She didn't have details about Sengvanhpheng's situation.

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