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Search continues for missing Fort Bliss soldier

July 20, 2008 10:16:38 AM PDT
A missing Fort Bliss soldier sent a text message about leaving her husband two days before she vanished, her sister said Saturday. "Hey sis he's gone so when my check comes I'm going to buy a futon," Army Pfc. Jeneesa Lewis wrote in the text message Wednesday, said her sister, Tammy Skelton. "Yeah, he's gone. Had police go with me yesterday, it's all clear."

Authorities say that by Friday morning, Clinton W. Lewis had come back and taken off with his wife. Now her family is worried about the 29-year-old air defense artillery soldier and mother of three children.

Army officials reported Jeneesa Lewis missing Friday morning after she didn't show up at work and no one appeared to be in her locked apartment. When El Paso police arrived and went into the apartment the couple had shared, the place was a mess and there was blood, Skelton said.

"The only thing I know ... is my sister is neat as a pin, nothing is ever out of place," Skelton, 26, told The Associated Press from her home in Rogersville, Tenn. "The place was a complete wreck and they found blood."

El Paso police officer Chris Mears said Friday that officers found "evidence of foul play" inside the apartment but declined to give specific details.

Mears said Jeneesa Lewis is considered missing and endangered. He said police believe she may be with Clinton Lewis, who has not been charged and is also missing.

Skelton said she last heard from her sister in a text message sent at 4:56 p.m. Thursday. The two had been chatting about the soldier's plans to have the phone company come to set up a new line at the apartment.

Jeneesa and Clinton Lewis married two years ago, Skelton said. She described their relationship as tumultuous and said Jeneesa joined the Army "to make a life for her and her children without having to depend on anyone."

"She wanted to make a life with them. She wanted to stand on her own two feet," Skelton said.

Jeneesa Lewis' three children - 4-year-old Clinton Jr., 7-year-old Gabrielle Buttry, and 9-year-old Toni Marie Buttry - have been living with her mother in Tennessee since she joined the Army last year.

Fort Bliss was her first duty assignment and she planned to move the children to Texas once she got on-post housing, Skelton said. "She had looked up the different schools and the different programs for the children," Skelton said. "She was excited about it. She was absolutely thrilled."

As the investigation continued Saturday, police have offered few new details. Skelton said she hopes her sister "has her wits about her."

Jeneesa Lewis is the fourth female service member gone missing in recent months.

A young Marine and two Army soldiers who vanished in North Carolina were later found dead.

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