Netta Brand
Netta BrandIDF Spokesperson

The body of missing IDF soldier Netta Brand was found early Thursday. Brand was found dead near Beit Shemesh, shot to death, with his IDF-issued weapon lying near him. Military police are investigating the circumstances of his death.

Police, border guards, IDF soldiers and volunteers had been intensively searching for Brand, who went missing Wednesday. Brand, who served in the Givati brigade, was last seen near the entrance of his hometown of Givat Yeshayahu, south of Beit Shemesh. He was wearing his IDF uniform and a fleece jacket, and was carrying his weapon. Brand had been serving in the army for about a year.

According to reports, Brand had written a letter that reflected a high level of depression, and there was concern that he might do harm to himself. Family members say, however, that the thought of his committing suicide did not occur to them. His mother, Ayelet Brand, told reporters that she was “completely surprised. Netta was a sensitive child but we didn't think something like this could happen. We have had problems, but we always were able to resolve them in a positive manner within the family. He was very happy serving in the IDF, and there was no sign that something like this was going to happen,” she said.

Brand's family held out hope until the last minute that Netta would be found alive and well.