A year after Vanessa Guillén’s death, lawmakers and advocates call for Congress to pass military sexual assault reform bill
A federal bill was recently reintroduced, proposing sweeping changes to the way the military investigates sexual assault and harassment allegations. Texas lawmakers are urging Congress to make it law.
Army disciplines 21 at Fort Hood in probe of soldier's death
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Army said Friday that it has taken disciplinary action against 21 officers and non-commissioned officers at Fort Hood, Texas, in connection with death last year of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was missing for about two months before her remains were found. [San Marcos, TX] [Hays County news] News San Marcos News, San Marcos Record [Texas State]sanmarcosrecord.com
Army report confirms sexual harassment of slain soldier Vanessa Guillen
AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. Army on Friday confirmed for the first time that slain Spc. Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed and further retaliated against at Fort Hood, which her family in Houston has consistently alleged in their fight for criminal justice reform in the military.myrgv.com
Army disciplines 21 at Fort Hood in probe of soldier's death
The Army said Friday that it has now taken disciplinary action against 21 officers and non-commissioned officers at Fort Hood, Texas, in connection with death last year of Spc. Vanessa Guillén, who was missing for about two months before her remains were found.
Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed by supervisor, US Army investigation finds
The U.S. Army confirmed that Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, who authorities say was killed by a fellow soldier last year, had previously been sexually harassed by a supervisor but unit leadership took no action, according to an Army report released Friday.
One year later: How Vanessa Guillen’s family is marking anniversary of Fort Hood soldier’s disappearance, death
The attorney for the family of slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen held a news conference Thursday with the family to mark the day last year that authorities believe Spec. Vanessa Guillen was killed last year.
Suspect in Vanessa Guillen case asks judge to toss out confession
HOUSTON – Lawyers for Cecily Aguilar, the woman charged in connection with the disappearance of Vanessa Guillen, moved to suppress evidence that her confession was illegally obtained, according to court documents filed Wednesday. The defense stated that Aguilar’s statements on June 30, 2020, were made while she was not under arrest and was not Mirandized, according to court documents. Aguilar is charged with conspiracy to tamper with the body of Gullien, a Fort Hood soldier who was reported missing in April 2020. Aguilar went on to conduct several controlled calls to Robinson and told officers Robinson would try to escape or shoot himself before being taken into custody. According to Aguilar’s account, on April 22, Robinson killed Guillen by hitting her in the head with a hammer while at Fort Hood.
Army under fire from Congress over Fort Hood response
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)WASHINGTON – Lawmakers expressed frustration Tuesday with how slowly improvements are being made to criminal investigation at Fort Hood, Texas, where rates of violent crime and sexual assaults are particularly high. More than two dozen Fort Hood soldiers died in 2020, including in multiple homicides and suicides. The review also concluded that the Army CID was understaffed, overwhelmed and filled with inexperienced investigators. Elder Fernandes, who was missing for more than a week last year before he was found dead about 28 miles from Fort Hood. AdAs a result of the independent review and other investigations, the Army earlier this year took action against 14 officers and enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood.
Army leaders fighting distrust from soldiers at Fort Hood
FORT HOOD, Texas – The skepticism in the rooms was palpable when U.S. Army leaders met with soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, in recent days, to check in on the embattled base, which has been stricken with violence and eroded morale over the past year. “I feel like leaders are just checking off boxes,” one male soldier said Thursday, as Army Sgt. Grinston, along with other Army leaders, met with dozens of soldiers. “The whole world is looking at Fort Hood, so they want to see you come here,” one female soldier said. He said the soldiers he met with told him: “Don’t stop getting to know your soldiers.
Here’s what leaders, organizations are saying after 14 soldiers were fired, suspended at Fort Hood
Texas leaders and organizations reacted after the Army fired or suspended 14 officers and enlisted soldiers at the Fort Hood base following a report of at least 25 Fort Hood soldiers who died from suicide, homicide or accidents, including the bludgeoning death of Spc. Vanessa Guillen. He also ordered a separate probe into staffing and procedures at the base’s Criminal Investigation Command unit, which is responsible for investigating crimes on Fort Hood. READ: 14 Fort Hood soldiers fired, suspended over violence at baseThe reactions follow:Sen. Ted Cruz released the following written response:“I’m deeply troubled by the findings published today about the command climate at Ft. The review concluded that CID at Fort Hood is not prepared to handle cases in general.
‘You deserve it’: Vanessa Guillen’s sister sounds off on Army firings at Fort Hood
““The toxic leadership -- thank God that those leaders at Fort Hood -- 14 of them -- were removed,” Lupe Guillen said. “If Mr. McCarthy actually watches this, I hope you actually endorse the ‘I am Vanessa Guillen’ (Act of 2020),” she said. We are not going to stop.”Read the “I am Vanessa Guillen Act of 2020.”Lupe Guillen said the act will “keep (her) sister’s legacy alive” and it will save lives. “It was widespread at Fort Hood, so things aren’t complete. Officials identified the two suspects tied to Fort Hood solider Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance on July 2.
14 Fort Hood soldiers fired, suspended over violence at base
He also ordered a separate probe into staffing and procedures at the base's Criminal Investigation Command unit, which is responsible for investigating crimes on Fort Hood. Mejhor Morta was found near a reservoir by Fort Hood. The five-member panel spent three weeks at Fort Hood and conducted more than 2,500 interviews, including 647 in person. They said they found a deep dissatisfaction with the sexual assault and harassment reporting and response program. Fort Hood, he said, has the highest rate of positive drug tests in the Army.
Army to fire, suspend Fort Hood troops over violence at base
McCarthy and other senior Army leaders are expected to announce the results of the review on Tuesday. Officials say they expect that Army Lt. Gen. Pat White, the base commander, will not face any administrative action. Army leaders have already delayed Efflandt's planned transfer to Fort Bliss, where he was slated to take over leadership of the 1st Armored Division. In a recent video message on Twitter, McCarthy said he had reviewed the findings of the independent commission he sent to assess the command climate at Fort Hood. All together, so far this year, 25 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood have died due to suicide, homicide or accidents, compared with 32 last year and 24 in 2018.
Vanessa Guillen’s sister shares powerful message at southeast Houston prayer vigil
HOUSTON – Community members came together to honor murdered Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen. On Thursday, Guillen’s family stood alongside community organizers outside a mural dedicated to Guillen at 7620 Gulf Freeway. But the most powerful voice of the evening was the voice that came from Vanessa Guillen’s 16-year-old sister Lupe Guillen. “I believe that if anyone would have spoken up for her, I believe I wouldn’t be standing here today,” Lupe Guillen said. However, Vanessa Guillen’s family said it has been seven months since their loved one’s death and there has been no one held accountable.
Fort Hood: Regaining trust after string of homicides, assaults and suicides
KPRC 2 Investigates is looking into how Army leaders are trying to regain trust following a string of suicides, homicides and assaults. A new acting senior commander was appointed to Fort Hood and KPRC 2 investigator Robert Arnold conducted an exclusive sit-down interview with Maj. Gen. John Richardson. Not only is Richardson the new acting senior commander of Fort Hood, but he’s also the deputy commanding general of operations for III Corps. Every time they see a leader not enforce a standard, they’re noting that.”Multiple investigations are underway into exactly why Fort Hood experienced 129 felonies a year over five years. At the end of September, Richardson shut down the corps at Fort Hood for five days.
Fort Hood: The Army’s most dangerous post?
So far this year, nearly 30 service members connected to Fort Hood have died, including by homicide, suicide, accident and illness. Army leadership has admitted that Fort Hood has the worst rate of violent crime and incidents among its U.S. installations. Christopher Wayne SawyerSawyer, 29, was found unresponsive on March 5 in his residence on Fort Hood, according to a statement released by the post. Mejhor MortaMorta, 26, was found unresponsive July 17 in the vicinity of Stillhouse Hollow Lake, near Fort Hood. His body was discovered on Aug. 25 near railroad tracks in Temple, about 30 miles from Fort Hood.
4-star Army general meets with Vanessa Guillen’s family in Houston
HOUSTON – KPRC 2 Investigates has learned four-star general John Murray visited with the Guillen family Tuesday at their southeast Houston home. Vanessa Guillen, 20 and a Houston native, was last seen at Fort Hood on April 22. READ: Vanessa Guillen timeline: These are the dates to know about her caseArmy officials named the main suspect in Guillen’s disappearance as Spc. READ: Soldier’s estranged wife charged in connection with Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance, officials sayTuesday’s meeting comes more than six months after Guillen’s disappearance and as several investigations are underway into numerous problems uncovered at Fort Hood, including Guillen’s murder. In August, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy visited Fort Hood and apologized for failing Guillen and her family.
Army: Slain Texas soldier's family entitled to compensation
FILE - In this July 30, 2020, file photo, supporters of the family of slain Army Spc. The death of Guillen, who was slain by a fellow soldier at the Texas Army base where they both worked, has been classified as "in the line of duty," according to a report by U.S. Army officials. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)KILLEEN, Texas – The family of a Texas soldier whose on-base killing sparked calls in Congress for changes in the way the military handles sexual abuse and harassment is entitled to benefits, including compensation, because her death happened “in the line of duty,” U.S. Army officials announced. Officials said they had evidence that Guillén did face other kinds of harassment by other people at the Texas base. According to the Army's report, Guillén “died by homicide” at 11 a.m. on April 22.
Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s death ruled ‘in the line of duty’
HOUSTON – The death of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen has been ruled “in the line of duty” after a military investigation into the case, according to a statement issued by the Army on Tuesday. Investigators said an Army specialist and killed and dismembered Guillen. The specialist killed himself as officers moved in on him. Cecily Aguilar, 22, of Killeen, is accused of helping the specialist dispose of Guillen’s body in some nearby woods.
'The military's #MeToo moment:' Fort Hood victims speak out
Members of Congress launched an investigation of Fort Hood in September after Sgt. Elder Fernandes was found dead on Aug. 25 hanging from a tree in Temple, Texas, months after reporting sexual harassment. A Fort Hood officer went with his wife to their apartment during one altercation after Buxton called for help. A Fort Hood spokesperson said they had no information on this allegation. “How many more must die at Fort Hood for them to be held accountable?” Lupe Guillen said.
Houston ISD honors Vanessa Guillen on her 21st birthday in 'Vanessa Guillen Day'
U.S. ARMY, HO / NYTHouston ISD is honoring Fort Hood Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen on what would have been her 21st birthday. Guillen attended HISD's Cesar Chavez High School. According to ABC13's Charly Edsitty, the district is honoring her memory with "Vanessa Guillen's Day."chron.com
Vanessa Guillen remembered on what would have been her 21st birthday
HOUSTON – Many remembered Vanessa Guillen on the day of what would’ve been her 21st birthday. Houston ISD declared Wednesday “Vanessa Guillen Day.”The district released a video when her loved ones returned to Chavez High School, where she graduated. They were able to give her a special day just for her on her birthday,” said Yovanna. She was young and I’m just finding out today it was her 21st birthday. She also celebrated her 21st birthday this month.
Texas soldier's slaying inspires bid to expand military code
Reps. Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, and Markwayne Mullin, a Republican from Oklahoma, said their bill would make sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The bill is named I Am Vanessa Guillen after the hashtag that was used by military sexual assault survivors to denounce their experiences on social media when Spc. According to Natalie Khawam, who represents the Guillen family, Guillen told her mother that a soldier of a higher rank walked in and watched her while she was showering. A coalition of military sexual assault survivors along with Democratic and Republican members of Congress joined Speier, Mullin, the Guillen family and Natalie Khawam, who represents the Guillen family, to present the bill at the U.S. Capitol. Officials said they had evidence that Guillen did face other kinds of harassment by other people at the Central Texas base.
#IamVanessaGuillen Act to be introduced Wednesday in Washington
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The family of Vanessa Guillén is still working to keep her name alive in an effort to seek justice for her death and claims of sexual harassment while serving in the U.S. Army. The official introduction of the #IamVanessaGuillen bill will take place Wednesday at noon with the Guillén family and Attorney Khawam on The House Triangle, U.S. Capitol in D.C. The family hopes Congress, the Senate, and President Trump show support for the bill, which aims to protect those who are suffering sexual harassment happening in the armed forces and while holding the aggressors accountable for their actions. “The bill responds to resounding calls for change by revolutionizing the military’s response to missing service members and reports of sexual harassment-assault by making sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice and moving prosecution decisions of sexual assault and sexual harassment cases out of the chain of command,” a caption for the official Find Vanessa Guillen Instagram page said. “We have to protect our protectors, those soldiers are giving their life to serve the nation and to protect us.”
Congressional subcommittees will investigate Fort Hood's leadership after a string of deaths
Two congressional subcommittees are investigating the leadership at Fort Hood following a series of deaths and instances of sexual abuse and harassment. The soldier suspected of killing Guillen, Spc. Guillen was the victim of sexual harassment, her sister said, but she didnt report the sexual harassment out of fear of retaliation. Gregory Wedel-Morales, a private at Fort Hood whose body was found in June, nearly a year after he went missing in August 2019. Between 2014 and 2019, an average of 129 felonies were committed annually at Fort Hood, including murder, kidnapping and sexual assault, according to the letter.
Congress investigates Fort Hood following 28 soldier deaths
AUSTIN, Texas Congress will launch an investigation into sexual assault, disappearances, deaths and the leaderships response at Fort Hood after 28 soldiers stationed at the U.S. Army base in Texas died this year, two subcommittee leaders announced Tuesday. According to data from Fort Hood officials, the 28 deaths include five homicides, as well as accidents, suicides, deaths related to illness, cases still under investigation and one combat-related death. Carlton L. Chee, 25, died on Sept. 2 after collapsing at the Texas base following physical training exercises on Aug. 28, according to Fort Hood officials. The Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President also received information from the family of Spc. Miguel D. Yazzie, who died on July 3 at Fort Hood, according to a statement from Navajo leaders.
Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth’s Relief Gang headed to Louisiana to help Hurricane Laura victims
LAKE CHARLES, La. – Houston rapper and philanthropist Trae Tha Truth and his Relief Gang are headed to Lake Charles, Louisiana, Friday to assist those in need after Hurricane Laura. “Meet us at Buccee’s in Baytown tomorrow (8/28) at 9am,” he wrote. Thompson has contributed to many efforts recently, including those focused on social injustices. The rapper has been protesting and organizing events centered around justice for Kentucky woman and shooting victim Breonna Taylor and Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen.
At least 9 Fort Hood soldiers found dead this year. Texas Senate Hispanic Caucus demands Congressional investigation
(TEXAS TRIBUNE) Sign up for The Brief, our daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news. Elder Fernandes was found Tuesday in Temple, about 30 miles from the base, roughly a week after he was reported missing. In May, Fernandes reported he had been a victim of sexual assault. Army officials said Wednesday that an investigation determined the inquiry was unsubstantiated and that Fernandes was made aware of the results, according to The Washington Post. The circumstances surrounding Guilln's death sparked protests across major cities in Texas, with demonstrators calling on the military to reform its investigations into sexual assault allegations.
This is what Vanessa Guillen’s family members, friends are saying on social media as she’s laid to rest
Vanessa Guillen is finally being laid to rest. Family and friends of the fallen soldier have taken to social media to share their thoughts ahead of Friday’s public memorial service. 😔 praying for the right things to say today, the strength to endure whatever comes our way. — Ash (@11MaciasA) August 14, 2020I pray for strength today. Vanessa Guillen today]The Guillen family will also speak during the service.
Remembering Vanessa Guillen: These are some of the most poignant moments from her funeral services
Image captured at the remembrance services for Vanessa Guillen on Aug. 14, 2020. Image captured at the remembrance services for Vanessa Guillen on Aug. 14, 2020. Image captured at the remembrance services for Vanessa Guillen on Aug. 14, 2020. Image captured at the remembrance services for Vanessa Guillen on Aug. 14, 2020. Image captured at the remembrance services for Vanessa Guillen on Aug. 14, 2020.
Vanessa Guillen timeline: These are the dates to know about her case
HOUSTON – Here is a timeline of the Vanessa Guillen case, from the alleged details about her death to the most current information available about the court proceedings. APRILApril 22, 2020: Vanessa Guillen went missing on April 22. AUGUSTAug. 14, 2020: Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen remembered during a public memorial at Houston’s Chavez High School. Sept. 22, 2020: Should a plea bargain be entered for Cecily Ann Aguilar, re-arraignment will be held on Sept. 22, according to court documents. Sept. 28, 2020: Cecily Ann Aguilar is set to appear before a judge on Sept. 28 following jury selection.
Honoring Vanessa: Public viewing at Chavez HS to begin at noon Friday
HOUSTON Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen will be remembered on Friday during a public memorial at Houstons Chavez High School, the same school she graduated from in 2018. A public viewing is scheduled to begin at noon followed by the rosary at 6 p.m.I just want the community to get together and honor who she was, said Ashley Macias, a friend of Vanessa who plans to attend the memorial. The two met at Chavez during soccer tryouts. Vanessa Guillen to be laid to rest in customized casket this weekendShe was actually always really positive, Macias said. The Guillen family believes she faced sexual harassment in the military and has called for a Congressional investigation.
Trial date set for Cecily Aguilar, woman charged in connection with Vanessa Guillens death
WACO, Texas The trial of a woman charged in connection with the death of Army Spc. Cecily Ann Aguilar, 22, was charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence after she told authorities her estranged husband, Aaron Robinson, 20, asked her to help dispose of Guillens body. According to Aguilar, Robinson killed Guillen by striking her in the head with a hammer while on Ft. Court documents showed that Aguilar entered a not guilty plea and is set to appear before a judge on Sept. 28 following jury selection. The legal teams have until Sept. 14 to enter a plea bargain, and should a plea bargain be entered, re-arraignment held on Sept. 22, according to court documents.
WATCH: Moments from Houstons tribute to Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen
HOUSTON Houston paid tribute to Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen in a memorial service Friday. Public events honoring Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen started at 10:50 a.m., according to a schedule posted on social media. At 10:50 a.m., there was a Veterans Memorial cruise that went on until noon. At noon, the open memorial service began at the Cesar E. Chavez High School Auditorium. Here are some of the moments from her service.
Here are 10 songs played to remember Vanessa Guillen during her remembrance services
HOUSTON Fridays memorial service for Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen brought cherished memories and significance to her family and guests. Dreaming of You - SelenaOne of Selenas most popular hit was played during a slideshow before the memorial service started at noon Friday, showing photos of Vanessa with family members and friends. Hallelujah - Rufus WainwrightOriginally from Rufus Wainwright, this song was performed by Christina Wells during the memorial service. Entre Tus Manos - Ray ReppThis final song is actually a message of thanks to the Guillen family.
Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen to be laid to rest in customized casket this weekend
Vanessa Guillen will be laid to rest in a customized casket donated by a Houston-area company during her funeral service this weekend. Vanessas sister, Mayra Guillen, shared a video of the enclosed casket on her Twitter account, designed and donated by Soulshine Industries, the same company that donated a customized casket for 4-year-old Maleah Davis. @vguillen_30 pic.twitter.com/k4C41YNLD6 Mayra Guillen (@mguilen_) August 11, 2020The casket is covered with red roses and a rosary on top, designed with a semi-dark green color along with Vanessa Guillen written in red. Soulshine Industries said on their Facebook page that they were honored to be apart of Vanessa Guillens life.A public memorial service for Spc. Vanessa Guillen is scheduled to take place Friday at Chavez High School on Howard Drive from noon to 8 p.m., with a private burial taking place on Saturday.
Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth raises $30K for Vanessa Guillens family
HOUSTON Houston rapper and activist Trae Tha Truth raised $30,000 for slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillens family ahead of her funeral set for this weekend. Trae, whose real name is Frazier Othel Thompson III, said he wanted to help the family during their time of mourning. Thompson met with the Guillen family Wednesday and surprised them with a check. After months of searching, her remains were found in a shallow grave near the Leon River near Fort Hood in late June. Guillens family and supporters have pushed for an independent investigation of the base and for reforms to the process of reporting sexual abuse and harassment in the military.
Vanessa Guillens funeral, procession: Heres what you need to know about the 2 days of events honoring the fallen soldier
HOUSTON Vanessa Guillen will be laid to rest following a memorial service Friday and a caravan and a private funeral on Saturday. Guillens loved ones have shared the information on social media for those who want to participate in honoring the fallen soldier. FridayPublic events honoring Guillen start at 10:50 a.m. Friday, according to a schedule posted on social media. Friday will not be a day about justice or about our military reform, it will be about Vanessa Guillen. Friday will be the day of honoring, remembering, cheering, praying and respecting (the) beautiful life God gave her.SaturdayAt 5 p.m., there will be a caravan honoring Guillen ahead of a private funeral service and burial.
‘We let her down‘: Secretary of Army discusses efforts to address death of Guillen, other soldiers
FORT HOOD, Texas – The Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy held a news conference Thursday in Fort Hood to discuss the death of Spc. In late June, skeletal remains were found in a field near Fort Hood. 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. Guillen’s death served as a catalyst, bringing to light the many issues within the military such as sexual harassment and sexual assault. In addition, the Army is rolling out “Project Inclusion,” which will address behaviors and issues such as a lack of diversity, discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault and suicide.
Family, friends of Vanessa Guillen speak about meeting with President Donald Trump
HOUSTON Friends and family of Houston army specialist Vanessa Guillen remain hopeful that theyll see justice and systemic change for what they call, a history of military cover-ups. Guillen, 20, was killed at Fort Hood at the hands of an accused fellow soldier. Just one day after her family met with President Donald Trump, Guillens friends spoke with KPRC 2 about the movement. Guillens friends and her family rallied for Congress to investigate Guillens death at Fort Hood, then marched for justice proved a walk to the Oval Office. Guillens mother, sisters and attorney spoke to Trump about the I am Vanessa Guillen bill, which they hope will end what they say is a culture of cover-ups in the military, including at Fort Hood.
Search underway for Fort Hood Soldier from Houston missing for a week
Search underway for Fort Hood Soldier from Houston missing for a weekFort Hood officials and Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are asking for the publics assistance in locating 20-year old Pfc. Vanessa Guillen. Fort Hood officials and Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are asking for the publics assistance in locating 20-year old Pfc. Vanessa Guillen. An extensive search is underway by military and civilian law enforcement as well as Fort Hood military members.chron.com