Army confirms remains found belong to Vanessa Guillen; lawmakers demand independent investigation

Rebecca Leal holds a sign at a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén. Leal was so distraught at the news of Guillén’s death that she spent 16 hours drawing her likeness on the sign for the vigil at the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. Photo credit: Jolene Almendarez for The Texas Tribune (Texas Tribune)

HOUSTON – The U.S. Army confirmed Monday that the human remains found near Leon River in Bell County on June 30 were those of missing Houston-native soldier, Vanessa Guillen.

The Armed Forces Forensic Examiner confirmed via DNA testing that Guillen’s remains were found by Leon River in Bell County after Guillen went missing on April 22. Guillen’s family was notified of the confirmation Sunday, officials said.

Fort Hood officials said moving forward they plan on assisting the U.S. District Attorney in the prosecution of the suspect and will continue to investigate sexual harassment allegations linked with Guillen’s disappearance and death.

Cecily Aguilar, 22, is accused of tampering with evidence in connection with the 20-year-old soldier’s disappearance. She told investigators her estranged husband, soldier Aaron Robinson killed Guillen with a hammer on April 22 and asked her to help him dispose of the body. Robinson died last week from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

WATCH BELOW: Fort Hood officials give update in Vanessa Guillen investigation Monday

WATCH LIVE: Fort Hood officials give update on Vanessa Guillen case as lawmakers demand independent investigation

WATCH LIVE: Fort Hood officials give an update on Vanessa Guillen case as lawmakers demand an independent investigation DETAILS:

Posted by KPRC2 / Click2Houston on Monday, July 6, 2020

‘Troubling reality'

The updates from Fort Hood officials come as Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia and 87 other members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Defense demanding an independent investigation into Fort Hood’s handling of Guillen’s case.

“The United States military has a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of the young women and men that take an oath to defend our country. In SPC Guillen’s case, the U.S. Army failed both Vanessa and her family,” said Congresswoman Garcia.

The letter states that Guillen confided to her family before her disappearance that she “felt unsafe in Fort Hood due to experiences with sexual harassment, which she did not report out of fear for her personal safety.”

Fort Hood officials doubled down last week, refuting claims that sexual assault played a part in Guillen’s disappearance and death.

Lawmakers said after Guillen’s case came to light current and former Latina servicemembers shared their experiences of sexual harassment and assault in the military and it shined a light on a “troubling reality.”