HOUSTON – The family of a missing Fort Hood soldier who is from Houston said Wednesday they believe remains that were found during the search for her belong to her and that one of the people responsible for her death committed suicide Tuesday night.
Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, who is assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, was last seen on April 22 in the parking lot of her regimental engineer squadron headquarters.
Officials at the military’s Criminal Investigation Command announced Tuesday that “partial human remains” were found near the Leon River in Bell County during the search for Guillen. Investigators are still working to identify those remains.
Speaking in Washington, Guillen’s family said they believe those remains are hers.
“Everything points to it,” said Mayra Guillen, Vanessa Guillen’s sister.
The soldier’s family also said they believe the person who committed suicide early Wednesday morning in Killeen after being described as a suspect in a Fort Hood criminal investigation is one of the people responsible for her death.
Killeen police said late Wednesday morning that the man who killed himself was a person of interest in the Vanessa Guillen case. His name is being withheld by authorities while the Army notifies his family, police said.
Posted by Killeen Police Department on Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Mayra Guillen said she believes she met with that person during one of the family’s visits to Fort Hood after her sister’s disappearance.
“That subject, I met him not knowing that he had something to do with it,” Mayra Guillen said. “I felt -- something was telling me that he did something and I wasn’t wrong apparently. He still had the nerve that same day to laugh in my face, and apparently now, he kills himself.”
The attorney representing Vanessa Guillen’s family also said two other people have been taken into custody in connection with the case, but Army investigators said late Wednesday morning that only one person has been taken into custody in connection with the case.
Lupe Guillen, Vanessa Guillen’s other sister, said her sister did not deserve to be treated this way while serving her country.
“Take my word that we will not rest,” Lupe Guillen said. “We will not stop, and we will keep fighting until you are behind bars because you are a disgrace to humanity.”
The family is also calling for the formation of an independent organization where military members can report incidents of sexual harassment, saying Vanessa Guillen was the victim of sexual harassment before she disappeared.
Lupe Guillen accused leaders at Fort Hood of dismissing sexual harassment and sexual assault claims as a joke.
“My sister is no joke,” Lupe Guillen said. “My sister is a human being, and I want justice, and I want answers.”
Vanessa Guillen’s family is also calling or a congressional investigation into her disappearance.
“How can this happen on a military base?” Lupe Guillen asked. “How can this happen while she is on duty?”
“If this can happen to my sister, what makes you think it can’t happen to other servicewomen and men,” she added.
This developing story will be updated.