SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Fort Hood officials have confirmed what they told the family of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen Sunday–the remains found last week near a river in Bell County are those of the soldier who went missing April 22.
“Sadly, I stand here to report that the search for Spc. Vanessa Guillen has resulted in the very outcome that I had prayed that it would not from the very beginning,” said Fort Hood Senior Commander, Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt. “We’re now confronted with the aftermath of one of the most heinous acts I can imagine.”
Fellow soldier Aaron Robinson was accused of beating Guillen with a hammer, dismembering her body and burning the remains. Robinson took his own life as officers approached him on a street in Killeen last week. His girlfriend, 22-year-old Cicely Aguilar, is accused of helping him dispose of the body. She remains behind bars in Bell County. Efflandt said Army investigators will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of Texas, which is taking the lead in the murder investigation.
Guillen’s family claims that she was a victim of sexual harassment, but didn’t report it to authorities for fear of retaliation. Efflandt said Guillen will not be forgotten.
“We will complete the ongoing investigation into sexual harassment and take actions against those findings,”Efflandt said. “To the victims of sexual harassment and assault, we hear you, we believe you and I encourage you to come forward.”
The Fort Hood senior commander said they all feel the loss of Guillen, and he called her a vibrant young woman who bravely volunteered to serve her country.
“Please know that every person who raises their right hand to serve their family and their country in uniform deserves to be safe and treated with dignity and respect,” said Efflandt.