The family of a missing U.S. Army Soldier announced Wednesday that they believe human remains found Tuesday night were those of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, a missing Fort Hood, Texas soldier.
Authorities found the human remains while searching for Vanessa Guillen, who has been missing since April 22, 2020. The remains were not immediately identified but on Wednesday an attorney for the family, Natalie Kahwam, announced the family’s belief that the remains were in fact Guillen’s. Kahwam detailed the search for Guillen during a Wednesday press conference, including the arrests of two suspects in her case and the death of another suspect.
Guillen, a 91F, Small Arms/Artillery Repairer was stationed at Fort Hood.
Kwaham said Guillen was sexually harassed at the post. Kwaham raised concerns with the way in which Guillen’s search was conducted and said “protocol was breached in every manner” relating to Guillen’s disappearance. Kwaham said military officials had been “evasive” and “disingenuous” with the family’s requests for information.
The attorney also announced that the family believes a man who killed himself Wednesday morning may have been the primary suspect in Guillen’s disappearance.
“We believe that the suspect had killed himself in the morning,” Kwaham said. “And that, unfortunately, does not provide us much information about how this happened, why this happened, about why a beautiful young soldier is not with us today.”
News 4 San Antonio reported that Fort Hood officials had confirmed the suspect, identified as a junior a Fort Hood junior soldier was wanted in connection with Guillen’s case. Kwaham said the individual, who she later named as Aaron David Robinson, was Guillen’s superior and said he had harassed Guillen prior to her disappearance.
Guillen’s sister Mayra said during the press conference that she had interacted with the suspect and while not knowing the suspect’s potential involvement in the case, she said “I felt something was telling me that he did something and I wasn’t wrong apparently.”
Mayra said the suspect had laughed in her face after she had asked about her sister.
Later in the press conference, Kwaham said that beyond the first suspect who killed himself she understood that another two suspect were in custody. She noted protocol regarding the armory in which Guillen worked would have required multiple personnel to always be in the room to secure the facility.
“These are the eyes and ears that were around Vanessa, that were harassing Vanessa,” Kwaham said of the suspects.
News 4 San Antonio reported, one of the suspects was the estranged wife of the soldier who killed himself.
Kwaham said the family informed military investigators of who they thought were the suspects before the officials took action to arrest them.
“We informed the command, when we were there at the meeting, of who we believe it is and why,” Kwaham said. “From there it seemed like the search went quicker, you know, 60 days and all of a sudden we have someone in custody. Last night they issued a BOLO [Be on the Lookout alert] and that person ran off the base as we understand, on foot, and shot himself when they came up to him.”
Kwaham said that, among other problems in efforts at the base to account for Guillen, Fort Hood officials falsely accounted for Vanessa at 3 p.m. the day she went missing.
In addition to calling for a Congressional investigation, Kwaham also said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper should speak with Guillen’s family and support investigations at Fort Hood.
“After that I think the DOD [Inspector General]’s office can come in, the FBI can come in,” Kwaham said. “We have a lot of other agencies. We don’t need that base to investigate itself.”
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), who is also a major in the U.S. Army National Guard, joined the family during their Wednesday press conference.