For months, Spc. Vanessa Guillen’s family held out hope that their daughter and sister, last seen at Fort Hood in Texas, was alive.
But this week, remains were found near the Leon River, north of Austin. The FBI is awaiting a positive DNA analysis, but the family believes the body is Guillen’s. On Thursday the FBI filed a criminal complaint alleging what her family had feared from the beginning: Guillen had been murdered on the base by a fellow soldier and buried near the river.
The murder suspect, 20-year-old Spc. Aaron David Robinson, killed himself Tuesday as law enforcement was closing in. The FBI has since charged Robinson’s girlfriend, 22-year-old Cecily Aguilar, with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence.
Guillen’s family believes her death was linked to sexual harassment she said she was enduring on base. Now they are pushing for congressional legislation to create an independent agency for soldiers who are victims of sexual harassment and assault.
Guillen never reported any sexual harassment. Speaking to NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly, her sister Lupe Guillen said that’s because she didn’t think such a report would be taken seriously. “My sister was too afraid to report the harassment because no one would listen to her,” Lupe Guillen said. “They take sexual harassment, sexual assault, as a joke. They don’t care.”