Camp Pendleton confirms Marine missing, did not report for duty

US

A North Carolina family is trying to locate missing Camp Pendleton Marine Corporal Charles Alex Benfield, KTLA sister station KSWB reports.

“We’re all worried. This isn’t normal behavior for Alex, just to leave and not to have any contact with anyone, especially my mom,” said Sarah Lazo, Benfield’s sister.

Benfield was out in downtown San Diego over the weekend when he was detained for public intoxication, then released from the McAlister Institute Recovery and Bridge Center on Sunday.

Lazo explains what the front desk there relayed to authorities.

“He was saying how he was scared, he was going to lose his rank because they had to meet that following morning at 8 a.m., which he had obviously missed. He said he needed to find his phone, so he was going to go search for that,” she said.

A communications director with the Marines issued this statement:

“Cpl. Charles Benfield, a field artillery cannoneer assigned to Battalion Landing Team 1/5, 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, did not report for duty the morning of April 15 following weekend liberty in the San Diego area. The 15th MEU is aware that Cpl. Benfield was detained by San Diego police April 14 and released later that day.

Once 15th MEU was made aware of his release, marines from Cpl. Benfield’s unit searched the downtown San Diego area to try locate him.

The safety and accountability of our Marines and sailors is a top priority. The 15th MEU has requested the assistance of the naval criminal investigative service and will continue to attempt to locate Cpl. Benfield to ensure his wellbeing.”

Benfield’s family says because Alex is active duty and NCIS is investigating, San Diego police cannot declare him a missing person, but that’s not stopping them from sharing their own missing posters on social media.

“I can understand him being scared to show up after missing a meet, but to completely fall off the face of the earth basically is unlike him at all,” Lazo said.

They say Benfield loved his job and just reenlisted for four more years with the Marines this past fall, so they can’t accept that he would choose to abandon his duties.

Lazo says Benfield’s phone is dead, but pinged last at the San Diego Police Department. His financial activity is also raising more questions.

“We were able to find out that his bank has been cleared out. There was no money left in it. There were several big amounts of money taken out at different ATMs,” Lazo said.

Ultimately, they’re hoping by speaking out, it leads them closer to knowing their loved one is safe.

The NCIS is asking anyone with information to submit tips online.

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