Loved ones honored the memory of Sgt. Elder Fernandes at a candlelight vigil Friday evening in Brockton, Massachusetts.
Fernandes, a 23-year-old soldier who grew up in Brockton, was found dead about 30 miles from Fort Hood in Texas, where he was stationed, after more than a week of searching. Family members are demanding answers about his death and disappearance.
Family members joined with the community for a vigil outside Brockton City Hall.
Fernandes was found hanging from a tree earlier this week about 30 miles away from Fort Hood in Texas, where the soldier was based.
"He went to serve the country, and he is not with us anymore, for a bad reason, for something that shouldn't happen," said his uncle, John Sequeira.
Family members never imagined his military career would end in such a manner.
"Twenty-three years old," said his aunt, Leonilde Fernandes Neves. "He could have been somewhere else partying, but he focused himself on the studies."
Family members say Fernandes had been bullied and harassed after reporting he'd been sexually assaulted by a superior.
The military said the claim was unsubstantiated.
Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., is calling for an independent investigation in the soldier's death, being called an apparent suicide.
"There are just circumstances and facts around the whole incident that really cause you to pause and ask if that is really what happened," said Lynch, who also wants a wider probe of Fort Hood.
Lynch says 10 soldiers have gone missing from the base over the past year, with five of the cases classified as unsolved homicides.
"There's something drastically wrong going on at Fort Hood right now," said the congressman.
The investigations comes too late for the Fernandes family.
"Whoever has their son, think twice to send them to the Army," said Fernandes Neves.
The military has said there is no sign of foul play in this case.
More Fort Hood Coverage
Sgt. Elder Fernandes, a 23-year-old Fort Hood soldier and Brockton native, went missing more than a week ago.