‘We let her down‘: Secretary of Army discusses efforts to address death of Guillen, other soldiers

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FORT HOOD, Texas – The Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy held a news conference Thursday in Fort Hood to discuss the death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen and other recent events that have plagued the military base.

Four soldiers from the base have been found dead in a matter of weeks.

In late June, skeletal remains were found in a field near Fort Hood. The remains were later identified as 24-year-old missing soldier Gregory Morales. Authorities said they suspect foul play.

Guillen was stationed at Fort Hood and had been missing for months when her body was found buried near the Leon River in Bell County, shortly after Morales’ death. According to a federal complaint, the 20-year-old was killed and dismembered at the base by a fellow Fort Hood soldier who later shot himself.

Weeks after Guillen’s body was found, the body of 26-year-old Pvt. Mejhor Morta was found at Stillhouse Hollow Lake. He is believed to have drowned.

On Sunday, the body of a fourth soldier was found at Stillhouse Lake. Authorities said Francisco Gilberto Hernandezvargas, 24, was being pulled in a tube when he went underwater.

Authorities said there is no indication that any of the deaths are related.

During the news conference, McCarthy said there has been a reckoning as the Army takes a hard look at itself. Guillen’s death served as a catalyst, bringing to light the many issues within the military such as sexual harassment and sexual assault.

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