Missing Camp Pendleton Marine found safe at Texas rest stop

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.

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Master Corporal Benjamin Atgie of the French 132nd Dog Battalion trains in a stadium in Bourges, central France on February 27, 2014 during a training for the Marine Corps Trials held at Camp Pendleton (US) between March 2 and 13, 2014. Ten French soldiers wounded in operations in Afghanistan train ahead of this US sports event involving injured veterans from seven nations (United States, Canada, Germany, France, Britain, Australia, the Netherlands). Over 350 athletes take part in the 9 events ranging from swimming, athletics, cycling, shooting to team sports (wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball). AFP PHOTO / GUILLAUME SOUVANT (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
FILE - This Nov. 13, 2013, file photo shows the main gate of Camp Pendleton Marine Base at Camp Pendleton, Calif. One Marine was killed and 18 others were injured Thursday afternoon, Sept. 10, 2015, in a vehicle rollover accident on the base. No details about the accident were immediately released, nor were the identities of the dead or injured.(AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)
OCEANSIDE, CA - JANUARY 10: Marines from Camp Pendleton gathered in the MCB Training Center auditorium Friday to listen to Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus speak. ///ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: 0110.mabus Ð 1/10/14 Ð LEONARD ORTIZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Ð U.S. Secretary of the Navy, Raymond Edwin "Ray" Mabus, Jr., visited the Marines at Camp Pendleton. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images)
FILe - In this Sept. 22, 2015, file photo, the entrance to Marine Corps base Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, Calif. The U.S. Marine Corps for the first time is adding women to a previously male-only combat training course in California, integrating the battalion this week after months of review. Marine Capt. Joshua Pena says 40 female Marine students checked-in Tuesday to the Marine Combat Training Battalion at Camp Pendleton. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)
A soldier from Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force stands next to one of their new Amphibious Assault Vehicles during a training exercise at Camp Pendleton, California, U.S., February 4, 2019. Picture taken February 4, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft takes off during Exercise Iron Fist, a joint training exercise between U.S. Marines and the Japan Ground Self- Defense Force as they conduct casualty evacuation drills at Camp Pendleton, California, U.S., January 22, 2019. Picture taken January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Marine Jacob Kostelecky (L) keeps watch with a Mexican Marine during operations in urban terrain as they train side-by-side during a Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) at Camp Pendleton, California, U.S. July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. and Mexican Marines conduct operations in urban terrain as they train side-by-side during a Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) at Camp Pendleton, California, U.S. July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Mexican Marines gather before conducting training operations with U.S. Marines in urban terrain during a Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) at Camp Pendleton, California, U.S. July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. and Mexican Marines gather for a cheer after training side-by-side during a Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) at Camp Pendleton, California, U.S. July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. and Mexican Marines discuss their operations as they train side-by-side during a Rim of the Pacific Exercise (RIMPAC) at Camp Pendleton, California, U.S. July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
A U.S. Marine stands behind a Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) during a patrol as part of Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 an exercise held at Camp Pendleton, California United States, July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Marines patrol with a Multi-Utility Tactical Transport (MUTT) as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 exercises held at Camp Pendleton, California United States, July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Marines travel in a Polaris MRZR vehicle during an training session as part of the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016 exercise held at Camp Pendleton, California United States, July 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Amphibious assault vehicles come ashore as Japan's Ground Self Defense Force personnel train alongside U.S. Marines during the bilateral annual Iron Fist military training exercise in Camp Pendleton, California February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Soldiers from Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force carry one of their men to a waiting Osprey aircraft as they train alongside U.S. Marines during the bilateral annual Iron Fist military training exercise in Camp Pendleton, California February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. Marines take up a defensive position as they train with soldiers from Japan's Ground Self Defense Force during the bilateral annual Iron Fist military training exercise in Camp Pendleton, California February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
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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."

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