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UPDATED 7/6, 11 a.m. ET: Human remains found in a shallow grave on June 30 were positively identified as missing Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, according to statements made by her family’s attorney Natalie Khawam. The discovery comes two months after Guillan’s disappearance on April 22, where she was last seen on base at Fort Hood in Texas.
"On July 3rd, the Army called me to confirm that the bones, hair and other remains found belong to Vanessa Guillen," Khawam said in an email to NPR. "We are at a loss for words. This should never have happened. Our country has lost a beautiful young soldier because the system is broken."
According to Khawam, via CNN, the 20-year-old was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in the armory room where she worked and was last seen. It’s believed that her body was then transported from the military base to an area near the Leon River, where the remains were later discovered. Guillen’s body was reportedly so disfigured that she needed to be transferred to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware for identification.
Officials targeted two potential suspects, including Spc. Aaron David Robinson, who died of a self-inflicted wound on July 1 after being approached by law enforcement. The other suspect, a civilian identified as Cecily Anne Aguilar, is going to court Monday in connection with Guillen’s murder. Aguilar is the estranged wife of a former soldier from Fort Hood and has been charged with evidence tampering, according to local reports.
The family believes Robinson murdered Guillan because she planned to file a sexual harassment complaint against him. Robinson then reportedly called 22-year-old Aguilar for “help dismembering and attempting to burn Guillen’s body.”
Protests mourning Guillen’s death and demanding justice took place in her native Houston over the weekend. As her case gains national attention, the hashtag #iamvanessaguillen is being used by other survivors of sexual misconduct in the military to share their stories.
See original story below.
During an investigation into the disappearance of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, one suspect has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Human remains that are possibly linked to Guillen’s case have also been discovered.
The 20-year-old was last seen April 22 on the central Texas military base, according to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. This news comes as Guillen’s family pleads for Congress to get involved in the investigation.
"Our hearts are broken. We feel pain, frustration and devastation. This shouldn't have happened. We demand a congressional investigation. We demand the truth," attorney Natalie Khawam told CNN in a statement. "If this could happen to Vanessa, this can happen to any one of our sisters, daughters and mothers."
According to ABC 13, U.S. Military agents found the suspect early Wednesday morning after he fled from Fort Hood on Tuesday. When the authorities attempted to make contact, the junior soldier reportedly pulled out a gun and shot himself. He died from the wound. The suspect’s name has yet to be released.
A second civilian suspect was arrested this week and is currently waiting to be charged. Per ABC, the civilian is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier.
Meanwhile, investigators found partial human remains potentially linked to Guillen’s disappearance. According to CNN, the remains have not been identified, but the search for her body has since ceased.
A website dedicated to finding Guillen claims the Houston native was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at Fort Hood. “I told my mom how the same sergeant that sexually harassed me would follow me whenever I would run and exercise and how uncomfortable it made me feel,” the site reads.
According to CNN, Guillen was last seen wearing a black t-shirt and purple workout pants.