UPDATE: Family Desperate For Answers In Search For Missing Fort Hood Soldier
Vanessa Guillen mysteriously vanished from her Texas post in April.
Vanessa Guillen’s family held a news conference Wednesday to demand answers after partial human remains that could belong to the missing Fort Hood soldier were discovered in a shallow grave in Little River-Academy, Texas.
“It’s not confirmed yet whether it’s my sister or not, but at this point everything points to it,” Mayra Guillen said.
She alleged a man who took his own life at the post hours before the news conference “had something to do with it.”
According to Houston’s KHOU-TV, a suspect wanted in connection with a Fort Hood investigation fatally shot himself around 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning when officers attempted to talk with him.
It’s unclear if the man’s death could be related to Guillen’s disappearance or the case of another Fort Hood soldier, Gregory Morales, whose body was recently found after he went missing in August 2019.
At the news conference, family pushed for a Congressional investigation into Guillen’s April disappearance from the post and pushed for reforms within the Department of Defense.
The goal, they said, was to provide men and women who experience sexual assault and harassment to be able to report the incidents outside the chain of command in order to feel safe and avoid possible retaliation.
Before she vanished, Guillen, 20, had told friends, family and other soldiers that a superior was sexually harassing her, but she was hesitant to officially report the incidents for fear of reprisal.
“Fort Hood, they’re hiding I don’t know what, I don’t know who,” Mayra said at the news conference, claiming the military has “lied to us since day one.”
Guillen’s younger sibling, Lupe Guillen, noted, “If this happened to my sister, this can happen to anyone else…How can this happen on a military base? How can this happen while she’s on duty?”
She added: “They take it as a joke. My sister’s no joke. My sister’s a human being.”
ORIGINAL POST 6/16/20:
Fort Hood soldier Private First Class Vanessa Guillen disappeared from her Texas post almost two months ago, and her family is still searching for answers as to her whereabouts.
Guillen, 20, a small-arms repairer with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, was last seen alive in the parking lot of her squadron headquarters around noon on April 22, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) said in a news release.
Guillen messaged her boyfriend the day she vanished, writing she was on her way to work and would contact him as soon as possible, “but that text never came,” her older sister, Mayra Guillen, told Dateline.
Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she had been working.
Three weeks before the disappearance, according to information posted to the website Find Vanessa Guillen, the missing soldier’s mother, Gloria Guillen, noticed her daughter had become withdrawn and asked what was wrong.
The soldier allegedly responded that a sergeant at Fort Hood was harassing her and would follow her when she went to run or exercise. The website claims Guillen didn’t want to reveal the person’s name or make a report out of fear she would get into trouble or not be believed.
“Something weird was going on there,” Mayra said on Dateline. “Vanessa was afraid. And now she's gone. But I do know that she wouldn’t have just left on her own without telling anyone. She would have at least told me.”
The area Guillen was in around the time she went missing reportedly had no cameras, and the Army has ruled out that the soldier could have gone AWOL.
Army CID Chief of Public Affairs spokesperson Chris Grey said officials are “completely committed” to finding Guillen and “aggressively going after every single piece of credible information and every lead in this investigation.”
At a recent press conference, Guillen’s sister pushed for a bigger investigation.
“It happened inside a federal building, a military base, and we still don’t get answers as to who, what, where exactly and why,” Mayra said.
The Army is currently offering a reward of up to $25,000 for credible information leading to Guillen’s whereabouts.
“I’m never going to stop searching for my sister,” Mayra told Dateline. “There are days where I just want to vanish myself. But I can’t. I have to hold on to hope that she's OK… and that she’s going to be home safe soon.”
If you have any information regarding Guillen's whereabouts or any additional information related to this case please call the In Pursuit With John Walsh hotline at 1-833-3-PURSUE to leave an anonymous tip or call Army CID Special Agents at 254-495-7767.