Honolulu Star Advertiser | U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, members of Congress seek independent investigation into death of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen

July 6, 2020
In The News

U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and 87 other members of Congress today called on the Department of Defense Inspector General to conduct a “full and independent investigation” into the April 22 disappearance and murder of U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was based at Fort Hood in Texas.

The 20-year-old soldier’s remains were found June 30 near the Leon River.

“Spc. Vanessa Guillen volunteered to serve our country, and proudly wore the uniform. Yet, her life and service was cut short. Since her disappearance over two months ago, we learned that she was a victim of sexual harassment, and that she was too afraid to report it,” Gabbard, a Hawaii Democrat, said in a release.

Before her disappearance and murder, Guillen confided in her family that she felt unsafe in Fort Hood due to experiences with sexual harassment, U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat from Texas, said in the letter seeking an Inspector General investigation. The other members of Congress added their names to the letter.

“The U.S. military has a responsibility to ensure the safety and well-being of the young women and men that take an oath to defend our country,” the letter states. “In Spc. Guillen’s case, she was tragically failed by the Army.”

According to a criminal complaint filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, 20-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson told Cecily Aguilar that he killed a female soldier by striking her in the head with a hammer while on Fort Hood on April 22.

Robinson said he transferred the woman’s body off of Fort Hood and enlisted the help of Aguilar in disposing of the body, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Robinson shot and killed himself when confronted by police, officials said.

According to the Army, Guillen was last seen was last seen at approximately 11:30 a.m. April 22, in the parking lot of her regimental engineer squadron headquarters at Fort Hood.

The 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood appointed an investigating team led by a senior investigating officer to conduct a commander’s investigation, referred to as an “Army Regulation 15-6 Investigation” into allegations that Guillen was sexually harassed, the Army said.

“Our servicemen and women deserve justice and faith that the military they serve in will take care of them,” said Gabbard, a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard. “The Department of Defense Inspector General must conduct a full and independent investigation. While we are too late to save Vanessa’s life, we must honor her life by getting to the truth and working to prevent this from happening to others.”

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