HOUSTON – Hundreds of people marched from Discovery Green to Houston’s city hall in honor of 20-year-old Vanessa Guillen.
The Houston native, who was missing since April, is believed to have been bludgeoned to death on the Fort Hood army base in Kileen. Guillen’s heinous murder is prompting many to spend Independence Day fighting for justice.
Among the group protesting the wrongful death were a number of Guillen’s friends and family. Lupe Guillen, Vanessa’s sister, choked back tears as she addressed the large crowd.
“They say no soldier left behind,” she said. “Yet, they left my sister behind.”
Lupe said she is demanding a formal investigation into her sister’s death and aims at proposing legislation to protect military members from sexual assault.
“My sister is a human being just like every single one of us and trust me when I say, ‘I’m not going to stop,‘” Lupe said.
On Thursday, officials identified two suspects, U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson and his estranged wife, Cecily Aguilar, who were tied to the disappearance. Robinson was found dead Wednesday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound just one day after “partial human remains” were found Tuesday near the Leon River in Bell County.
“Everything that happened was just uncalled for,” said Edward Salazar, a U.S. Army veteran. “No person, civilian or military deserves that kind of treatment, and I hope today our voices are heard.”
Salazar hopes for change within the ranks.
“She wore the same uniform I did. That uniform means a lot; we don’t take it lightly when someone, especially our own Army, not treat our battle buddies the same way everyone should be treated,” he said.
Other protesters, like Yvette Villegas, were at the event demanding those responsible for Guillen’s death be held accountable.
“I don’t think any woman or anybody should have to go through this whether she’s in uniform or not,” Villegas said.
The protest wrapped up with a candlelight vigil.