A number of protests are planned for the July 4 weekend in support of Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
Guillen, a Fort Hood soldier, was last seen on April 22 in the parking lot of her squadron. Human remains, believed to be those of the missing Fort Hood soldier, were discovered Tuesday near the Leon River in Texas. DNA tests are being conducted before the remains can be positively identified.
Organizers of a College Station, Texas protest, scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. CDT, state the event is “to demand accountability and justice for Vanessa Guillen and all those who have been victims of violence, abuse, and discrimination while serving in the military.”
Another event, planned for Sunday, asks supporters to meet at the east gates of Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas, to “stand up for Vanessa!”
“Let’s help Vanessa’s family by showing up to Fort Hood and applying some pressure on them. Let’s let Fort Hood know we are outraged and angry! Fort Hood has allowed so much corruption; harassment, rape and murder to take place behind and beyond their walls!” the Facebook page reads.
Two suspects have been linked to the case, Damon Phelps, a senior special agent with the Fort Hood Criminal Investigation Command (CID), said at a news conference Thursday. Aaron David Robinson, a specialist at Fort Hood, killed himself early Wednesday as law-enforcement officials closed in, Phelps said. The other suspect is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier.
Phelps did not identify her, but multiple media reports said she is Cecily Aguilar, 22, of Killeen, Texas. Aguilar is being held on a charge of tampering with evidence with the intent to impair a human corpse, a second-degree felony, according to Bell County jail records.
“It is very troubling and irresponsible that other soldiers’ names have been placed on social-media sites and implicated in this investigation when there is absolutely no credible information or evidence that those individuals have anything at all to do with this investigation,’’ Phelps said.
Citing the ongoing investigation, Phelps and Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt provided few details about what led investigators to the remains, how they zeroed in on the suspects and any relationship between them and Guillen, 20.
Guillen, a Houston native, and Robinson were both in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood.
Guillen’s family repeatedly has said she was being sexually harassed before her disappearance. They held a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., and called for a congressional investigation.
“How can [sexual harassment] happen on a military base?’’ said Guillen’s sister, Lupe. “How can this happen while she’s on duty? How can they let this happen and then just let it go under the rug like it was nothing?’’
No evidence of sexual harassment against Guillen has been confirmed, Efflandt said. He has asked the inspector general to investigate Fort Hood’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program, known as SHARP.
“I am really sorry that I was not able to provide [Guillen’s family] information sufficient to reduce their suffering,’’ said Efflandt, Fort Hood’s deputy commanding general. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through. What I was able to share was tempered by my responsibility to protect the integrity of the investigation so that we could A) find Vanessa; [and] B) prosecute those responsible for this travesty and, in the end, be in a position to punish them.
“I just wish I could have done a better job balancing those two needs.’’
Anyone with information is asked to email https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html or call 254-495-7767.