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Woman who hid Army soldier Vanessa Guillén’s body sentenced to 30 years in prison

Vanessa Guillén (U.S. Army/Released)
August 15, 2023

A Texas woman received a 30-year prison sentence Monday in relation to the murder of U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén, whose death led to a movement of military women highlighting their experiences of sexual abuse and significant changes in the reporting of sexual abuse in the military.

According to a press release by the Western District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office, Cecily Aguilar, age 25, was sentenced in a federal court in Waco, Texas, for helping Army Specialist Aaron Robinson in “corruptly altering, destroying, mutilating and concealing evidence-that is, the body of Vanessa Guillén -in order to prevent Robinson from being charged with and prosecuted for any crime.”

Robinson committed suicide on July 1, 2020, which was the same day that the remains of Guillén were discovered, according to The Associated Press.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office noted that Aguilar also “altered and destroyed information” that was found in Robinson’s Google account. The Texas woman also was recorded making four “materially false statements” regarding the disappearance of the U.S. Army specialist when questioned by federal investigators.

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Aguilar pleaded guilty to an accessory to murder charge on Nov. 29, 2022, as well as three charges of false statements or representation.

“Our hope is that today’s sentence brings a sense of relief and justice to the Guillén family, who have endured such pain throughout these past few years,” U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza, said following Monday’s sentencing verdict.

“Ms. Aguilar’s actions were indefensible, and she will now face the maximum penalty for the choices she made.  I’m grateful for our law enforcement partners who worked tirelessly on this case, as their dedication was essential in bringing this defendant to justice.”

After Monday’s proceedings, Natalie Khawam, the Guillén family’s attorney, announced that the family “finally” received “closure in this case.”

According to The Associated Press, Guillén was reported missing in April of 2020, after her family claimed they had not heard from her for an extended length of time.

A criminal complaint noted that Robinson bludgeoned Guillén at Fort Hood, Texas, with a hammer. Following the murder of Guillen, Aguilar was accused of helping Robinson dismember Guillén’s body and hiding it in the woods near the military base.

In the aftermath of Guillén’s murder, the family claimed that Guillén had been sexually harassed during her service at the military base in Texas. According to The Associated Press, the military eventually acknowledged that Guillén had been sexually harassed by a soldier at the military base.

In light of the incident involving Guillén’s murder, both state and federal lawmakers approved legislation in 2021 that changed the process for service members reporting sexual abuse and harassment in the military, honoring the legacy of Guillén.