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Family: Missing Fort Bliss soldier found alive


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By ALICIA A. CALDWELL, Associated Press Writer Mon Jul 21, 7:14 AM ET

EL PASO, Texas - A Fort Bliss soldier considered missing and endangered has been found hurt but alive, her sister said Monday.


Tammy Skelton said she talked to Army Pfc. Jeneesa Lewis early Monday by phone, and her sister said she had been beaten and stabbed twice. Skelton said her sister "sounded tired, scared and weak."

Her husband, Clinton W. Lewis, has been jailed on an aggravated kidnapping charge. He was being held on $75,000 bond, according to jail records, which did not show if he had an attorney.

"Clinton had seen it on the news and decided to turn himself in," Skelton said in a phone interview from her home in Rogersville, Tenn.

Delores Pigeon, Jeneesa Lewis' grandmother, said Jeneesa Lewis called late Sunday to say her husband abducted her from her El Paso apartment last week, drove her to Nevada and then came back to El Paso to turn himself in.

"He took her into Nevada," Pigeon said. "She said she's in shock. She's got two big holes in her legs and she lost of a lot of blood."

Pigeon said the family was elated to receive the call from officials in El Paso late Sunday telling them what happened.

"I was just so excited last night to her voice," Pigeon said. "She has bumps and bruises all over. You don't always hear good stories, but thank God this is good."

El Paso police told the El Paso Times late Sunday that Jenessa Lewis, a 29-year-old mother of three, had been located and was speaking with detectives but offered few other details.

Jeneesa Lewis was reported missing Friday after she didn't show up for work at Fort Bliss, just outside El Paso. When soldiers from her unit found her apartment locked and no one apparently inside, they called police.

Skelton said police reported to the family that the apartment was a wreck and blood was found inside.

In the days leading up to her disappearance, Jeneesa Lewis was planning to leave her husband of two years, Skelton said. The soldier sent her sister a series of text messages saying that Clinton Lewis had left and had even sent a picture of that looked like it was taken from inside of a Greyhound bus.

"She left him an envelope with money and a note telling him to leave and not to come back," Skelton said. "She was so happy, saying he's 400 miles away."

By Wednesday afternoon, Skelton said, Jeneesa Lewis believed her husband was gone for good and started making plans to go back to her apartment and start over without him.

"Hey sis he's gone so when my check comes I'm going to buy a futon," Jeneesa Lewis wrote in the text message Wednesday, Skelton said. "Yeah, he's gone. Had police go with me yesterday, it's all clear."

But police believe Clinton Lewis, who is wanted in Tennessee on a warrant for not paying back child support and has a decade-long criminal history that includes an assault charge, came back to the apartment and then took off with Jeneesa Lewis.

She was last heard from in a text message at 4:56 p.m. Thursday when she chatted with Skelton about arranging the phone company to come out and set up a new line at her apartment.

Skelton said the pair met about a half-dozen years ago at a Tennessee night club. At first, Clinton Lewis seemed charming and fun, but the relationship soon became tumultuous and, Skelton says, abusive.

"He was all charm and fun then I guess," Skelton said. "He's a very likable person. He could walk up to you and you'd think he was the greatest thing since sliced bread."

The pair married about two years ago after a series of break ups and make ups. Skelton said her sister was often terrified of her husband but never reported the abuses to police and only recently confided in relatives about what Skelton says was really happening.

"She would never tell us the whole story," Skelton said.

Skelton said she constantly urged her sister, a mother of three young children, to leave Clinton Lewis.

"He told her that if she ever left him, he'd kill her. If he couldn't have her, no one could," Skelton said. "I've heard him say that myself, several times."

Skelton said her sister joined the Army last year to get away from her husband and start a new life with her children 4-year-old Clinton Jr., 7-year-old Gabrielle Buttry, and 9-year-old Toni Marie Buttry.

The children have been living in Tennessee with Jeneesa Lewis' mother. The soldier planned to moved the children to Texas once she got a place to live on Fort Bliss.


Glad they found her!

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