Who Is Vanessa Guillen, the 20-Year-Old Who Disappeared from Fort Hood?

On April 22, Private First Class Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old woman from Houston, disappeared from the Fort Hood military base in Killeen, TX. She was last seen “in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood,” according to a press release from the military base, wearing a “black T-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.”

Her belongings—car keys, barracks room key, wallet, and ID card—were all left in the armory room where she was working earlier that day. The last text on her phone was to U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson, 20, who died by suicide after he was identified as a suspect in the case. Two months later, Guillen’s remains were discovered and identified.

In December, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announced 14 firings and suspensions, from commanders to lower-level leaders, following an independent review at the Fort Hood. But Guillen’s family is still desperate for answers. Here’s everything you need to know about the case.

memorial set up in austin for murdered fort hood soldier vanessa guillen

A memorial for Vanessa Guillen in Austin.

Sergio FloresGetty Images

Vanessa Guillen was reported missing on April 23.

The next day, April 24, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command released a statement asking for help finding her.

On June 30, the Army Criminal Investigation Division Command (CID) confirmed that human remains had been found in an area near the Leon River, where a search had been conducted for Guillen on June 22. The Army CID issued the following statement, per ABC13:

“Due to extensive investigative work conducted by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, agents have returned to an area of interest close to the Leon River, Bell County, Texas for more investigative work in the search for PFC Vanessa Guillen. After receiving additional information, agents have discovered what has been described as partial human remains after analysis from a forensic anthropologist. Army CID agents are currently on scene with the Texas Rangers, the FBI and Bell County Sheriff’s Department. No confirmation as to the identity of the remains has been made at this point and we ask for the media and public’s understanding that the identification process can take time. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, no further information will be released at this time.”

Tim Miller, the founder of Texas EquuSearch, a search and rescue group that searches for missing persons, told ABC: “It’s believed to be her…pending positive identification which that will have to be determined by the medical examiner’s office, but I’m confident to say the search for Vanessa is now over.”

Over Fourth of July weekend, the remains were confirmed to be Guillen’s, according to The New York Times.

march and vigil held in austin in honor of murdered army spec vanessa guillen

Protester at a march and vigil for Vanessa Guillen in Austin, Texas.

Sergio FloresGetty Images

The main suspect in Guillen’s death was Spc. Aaron David Robinson, who died by suicide.

Robinson worked in the building adjacent to where Guillen worked at Fort Hood. He was named in a federal complaint, according to The New York Times. But just a few days before the charge was announced, Robinson killed himself with a pistol.

“While law enforcement agencies attempted to make contact with the suspect in Killeen, TX, Specialist Robinson displayed a weapon and took his own life,” CID Senior Special Agent Damon Phelps said in a news conference, according to CNN.

Authorities have arrested Spc. Robinson’s girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar.

In a press release from the Department of Justice, authorities revealed that a criminal complaint was filed against 22-year-old Cecily Aguilar, who was charged with conspiracy to tamper with evidence in connection with Guillen’s disappearance. Most notably, the press release revealed that Robinson allegedly told Aguilar that he killed “a female soldier”:

According to the complaint, 20-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson told Aguilar that he killed a female soldier by striking her in the head with a hammer while on Ft. Hood on April 22, 2020. Robinson further admitted to Aguilar that he transferred the woman’s body off of Ft. Hood to a remote site in Bell County. Subsequently, Robinson enlisted the help of Aguilar in disposing of the dead female’s body. The complaint further alleges that at a later time Aguilar recognized the deceased, whom she helped Robinson mutilate and dispose of, as Vanessa Guillen. The remains found in Bell County have yet to be formally identified by authorities.

According to the release, Aguilar faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum $250,000 fine if convicted. According to The Austin American Statesman, Aguilar has pleaded not guilty.

“She clearly and unequivocally denies the accusations made against her by the government,” Lewis Gainor, a federal public defender who represents Aguilar, told The Statesman. “It is supported by probable cause, which is the bare minimum for a case to go forward. At this point, she is presumed to be innocent. She has a right to a trial.”

march and vigil held in austin in honor of murdered army spec vanessa guillen

A protester at a vigil for Guillen on July 12, 2020 in Austin.

Sergio FloresGetty Images

Her family believes she was sexually assaulted.

Guillen’s family lawyer Natalie Khawam accused Spc. Robinson of sexually harassing her, calling sexual harassment in the military an “epidemic.”

“My sister Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed yet nothing was done,” her sister Lupe Guillen said at a news conference in July. “She deserves respect. She deserves to be heard because if this can happen to my sister, it can happen to anyone else.”

Fort Hood Senior Commander Major General Scott Efflandt said at a press conference that a criminal investigation had not found “any connection” between the sexual harassment allegations and Guillen’s disappearance.

This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

More than a dozen Army officials were fired after an investigation.

At least 14 Army leaders, including one general, were either fired or suspended after an independent civilian review board found systemic leadership failures and a “toxic culture” at Fort Hood. The investigation, which was released in December and can be seen here found “major flaws” at the military base and a climate “that was permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” said Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy.

The panel also found that Fort Hood’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) Program was ineffective, “to the extent that there was a permissive environment for sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

“Leaders, regardless of rank, are accountable for what happens in their units and must have the courage to speak up and intervene when they recognize actions that bring harm to our Soldiers and to the integrity of our institution,” McCarthy said during a news conference. Guillen’s death “revealed a series of missteps and multiple failures in our system and within our leadership,” he added.

Celebrities, lawmakers, activists, and public figures spoken out about Guillen’s case

On Twitter, the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen prompted hundreds of people to tell their own stories of sexual assault in the Armed Forces, including Panayiota Bertzikis, a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard veteran and founder of the Military Rape Crisis Center, who tweeted about her rape.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

An Instagram account called @findvanessaguillen provides updates on her case and encourages using the hashtags #FindVanessaGuillen, #IAmVanessaGuillen, and #WeAreVanessaGuillen.

Celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Salma Hayek have also used their platforms to demand justice for Guillen.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

This content is imported from Instagram. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia and 87 other members of Congress signed a letter supporting the need for an independent investigation by the Department of Defense into how military officials conducted their search for Guillen.

This content is imported from Twitter. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

“We are hopeful that a full and independent investigation by the DoD Inspector General’s Office will begin to provide the Guillen family with the answers and justice they seek,” Rep. Garcia wrote in the letter.

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at

Articles You May Like

In Praise of Met Gala Minimalists
Kate Beckinsale on How to Get a Guy in the 1800’s | Vanity Fair
Nicola Coughlan on Her Feathery Dress & Cape | Met Gala 2022 With Emma Chamberlain | Vogue
Jennifer Garner Reveals the Best Character She Has Ever Played
Natural Landscape Design Ideas – Miranda’s Garden – Vogue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *