RICHLAND, Texas (AP) — A U.S. Marine believed to have left Arizona for California's Camp Pendleton never arrived, but was found days later at a Texas rest area, unharmed.

Lance Cpl. Job Wallace was taken into custody Saturday night by Naval Criminal Investigative Service and other law enforcement officers at a rest area in Navarro County, according to a NCIS statement cited by The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The 20-year-old had last been seen leaving a friend's house in Surprise, Arizona, on Monday night, his mother, Stacy Wallace, said. He was due back at Camp Pendleton after a three-day leave that took him home to the suburbs west of Phoenix and a camping trip.

About an hour south of Dallas, Navarro County is more than 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) east of Surprise and in the opposite direction from Camp Pendleton in Southern California.

The statement from Kurt Thomas, the special agent in charge of the NCIS Marine Corps West field office, did not include details about how Wallace was found or what he was doing.

Stacy Wallace had said her son loved the Marines and was excited to get back to Camp Pendleton, having been recently promoted.

"He got into several colleges and missed scholarship opportunities just so that he could be a Marine, because he felt it was his duty to serve his country," Wallace said.

Wallace's mother had said law enforcement officials told her that her son's phone was last pinged Monday night in Arizona. But a Border Patrol camera spotted his truck the next morning traveling eastbound on Interstate 10 near Fort Hancock, Texas, southeast of El Paso.

A Surprise police spokesman had said officers took a report and turned the matter over to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Thomas' Saturday night statement thanked law enforcement partners in Texas, Arizona and on the federal level "for their aid in bringing this to a safe resolution."

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.