SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) – Congressman Joaquin Castro is calling for an independent investigation into the murder of Fort Hood Soldier Vanessa Guillen.
At a candlelight vigil in front of San Fernando Cathedral Sunday night, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus called for a moment of silence for the soldier whose remains were found last week near a river in Bell County, more than two months after her disappearance in April.
Guillen’s family claims she had been sexually harassed, but was afraid to file a complaint for fear of retaliation.
“The United States military failed Vanessa Guillen. The United States government failed Vanessa Guillen, and for years, both have failed women who are in the Armed Forces,” said Castro.
He recalled the military sex scandal several years ago in which six male training instructors at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland were convicted of charges ranging from sexual misconduct to sexual assault of female trainees.
“Women who are serving our nation shouldn’t have to worry about sexual harassment or sexual assault or any other kind of military sexual trauma,” he said at the event, which was posted on Facebook. “And it’s time that this country stand up and respect and protect its women service members.”
Guillen’s family believes officials at Fort Hood took too long to launch an investigation after her disappearance from the Army post April 22. They were notified Sunday that the remains found last week had been positively identified as those of 20-year-old Guillen. The primary suspect in her murder, fellow soldier Aaron David Robinson, took his own life when officers approached him last week.
Robinson’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Cecily Aguilar, has been arrested and charged with helping him dispose of Guillen’s dismembered body.
According to the Facebook post, Sunday’s event was sponsored by LULAC Council # 22342, Carnalismo National Brown Berets, Big Homie Organization, Circle of Arms, and Love Thy Neighbor.
The hashtag is #nomas (no mas), which means ‘”no more.”