Missing Fort Hood Soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillen Was Killed in Armory, Attorney Says

Vanessa Guillen
Photo credit Courtesy of the US Army
By , Connecting Vets

Missing Fort Hood soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillen's remains were found near a Texas river, her family said this week, after she had been missing since April 22. Now, the family's attorney is revealing new details about the circumstance of her death.

Guillen, 20, was last seen in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment.

Her car keys, barracks' room key, ID and wallet were all found in the armory.

The morning after the remains were found, a "military suspect" in Guillen's disappearance died by suicide as law enforcement "attempted to make contact," according to the Army Criminal Investigation Command.

The family's attorney, Natalie Khawam, identified the man as Aaron Robinson, according to a BOLO circulated by Fort Hood Tuesday night.

CID also said a civilian suspect was taken into custody. "the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier" though the charge was unclear. Bell County records show Cecily Aguilar was held in the county's jail and later released on bond. Kileen police said Aguilar was held by the county but federal charges were pending.

In an interview on "Crime Stories with Nancy Grace," and statement to Connecting Vets, Khawam, provided details she said she received from CID during a four-hour meeting on the circumstances of Guillen's death, including that she was killed by Robinson.

Khawam said she was told Robinson and Guillen argued in the armory where both worked after she discovered he was allegedly having an affair with the estranged wife of a former soldier.

During the argument, Robinson allegedly bludgeoned Guillen to death with a hammer, concealed her body in a Pelican case stored in the armory room and later disposed of her body and the case near the Leon River, with help from his married girlfriend Cecily Aguilar, the woman arrested in connection with Guillen's disappearance.

"This heinous act caused blood to be splashed all over the room," Khawam said.

Khawam said Robinson and Aguilar allegedly tried to destroy and conceal Guillen's body by dismembering her with a machete, attempting to burn her remains and using cement and stones to hide her remains.

"At first they tried to set her on fire, but she wouldn't burn," Khawam said. "Then they dismembered this beautiful U.S. soldier's body with a machete. She needs to be brought to justice."

A witness allegedly saw Robinson leave Fort Hood April 22 with a Pelican case, but no warrants were issued until investigators discovered the remains, Khawam said.

Fort Hood officials declined to comment. Senior Commander, Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, III Corps deputy commanding general is expected to address the media during a briefing Thursday afternoon.

Last week, officials said they suspected foul play in Guillen's disappearance. The 3rd Cavalry Regiment, Guillen's unit, said it had opened an investigation into the sexual harassment allegations.

Guillen's family said she told them she had been sexually harassed at Fort Hood, but Army officials said previously they had no "credible information" about those allegations.

"She was afraid to (report it) because the sexual harassment was coming from her superiors, so her concern was the retaliation, being blackballed,” Khawam said during Wednesday's press conference. “We believe the person that killed her is that person that sexually harassed her.”

“Sooner or later the truth will come out because we are not going to stop,” said Guillen’s older sister, Myra, during the press conference. “We have to know everything.”

U.S. Army Forces Command sent an Inspector General team to Fort Hood this week to investigate the Fort Hood Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program after the disappearance of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen.

Her family said she told them she had been sexually harassed by a Fort Hood soldier who was her supervisor before she went missing.

The team arrived the same day human remains were found near the Leon River, where search parties looked for the 20-year-old soldier last week. On Wednesday, Guillen's family and their attorney told reporters at a press conference in Washington, D.C. they believed the remains belong to Guillen.

The remains had not been officially identified as of Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday evening, Fort Hood public affairs announced Guillen had been promoted to specialist, effective July 1, "due to time in service."

A team of seven investigators is set to focus on three main objectives, according to a news release from Fort Hood Wednesday evening:

"Examining SHARP program implementation at Fort Hood;Assessing whether the command climate is supportive of soldiers reporting incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault;Identifying an potentially systemic issues with the SHARP program at Fort Hood, as well as any resource constraints."The inspection team from Fort Bragg, N.C. is expected to brief Fort Hood and Army Forces Command leaders when they complete their investigation.

Forces Command and Fort Hood did not say if the investigation was related to Guillen's disappearance. Her family previously said Guillen did not report her harassment to her unit's SHARP representative.

The family, Khawam and a few Capitol Hill lawmakers are calling for a congressional investigation of Guillen's disappearance.

"They should be ashamed of themselves. Protocol was breached in every manner. We lost one of our own on our own base," Kahwam said. "Everything we were given was lies. It was evasive. They were very disingenuous to us. I don't know who's covering up for who but it doesn't matter."

CID officials said Guillen's case is still an open, ongoing criminal investigation.

“There is still a lot of investigative work to be done and we ask for the public and media’s patience,” said Chris Grey, CID spokesman. “There are obviously pieces of information and evidence that cannot be shared with the public during an active criminal investigation. Doing so can seriously jeopardize the charging and successful prosecution of individuals. When important investigative information is prematurely released, criminals can and will destroy evidence, conspire to change their stories, build false alibis, etc.”

Anyone with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170. They can also anonymously submit information at www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html.  People who want to remain anonymous "will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable," CID officials said.

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