Vanessa Guillen, who was last seen on April 22, was memorialized on Friday – nearly four months after she is said to have been killed by a fellow soldier at Fort Hood.
Guillen’s body was discovered mutilated and burned before it was placed in three different holes, according to federal prosecutors.
Who was Vanessa Guillen and what happened to her?
Guillen – 20-year-old Houston native and specialist in the Army – was last seen at Fort Hood military base in Texas on April 22.
Her car keys, ID card, wallet and barracks key were found at her work after she went missing.
According to investigators, US Army Specialist Aaron Robinson struck Guillen in the head with a hammer on the day she went missing.
Guillen was last seen in the parking lot at Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on the Fort Hood base, according to a press release from the US Army.
She has been missing for two months since she disappeared from the base.
Private first class Guillen’s body was found on June 30 near where she disappeared in April, close to Fort Hood Military Base.
She was reportedly beaten so badly that Guillen’s body had to be identified through strands of her hair.
Her body was burned and placed in three different holes, Federal prosecutors have said.
Guillen’s older sister, Mayra Guillen, said her sister had spoken with their mother about experiencing sexual harassment.
From their text conversations, Mayra said she believed her sister was afraid during her time at Fort Hood.
According to Guillen’s family, she was harassed and followed into the shower by the soldier who killed himself after her remains were found.
The family attorney, Natalie Khawam, said the 20-year-old told her family she was being sexually harassed by her superior on the Army base.
When was her memorial service?
Mourners gathered on August 14, 2020, at Cesar Chavez High School in Houston, where Guillen grew up playing soccer and dreaming of joining the military.
“She’s very happy where she is next to God and the Virgin Mary,” said sister Lupe Guillen.
“We are not here for justice or politics today.
“We are here to remember, honor and respect Vanessa Guillen and her beautiful life, her tender heart and her beautiful face.”
The Roman Catholic service was open to the public and was being streamed online.
Guillen’s mother and grandmother grasped each other as they prayed over the casket through sobs.
Who is Juan Cruz?
Two days after Guillen went missing, the man believed to be her boyfriend at the time urged for help on Twitter.
Juan Cruz wrote: “Please help me find my girlfriend her name is Vanessa Guillen. Height 5’3. She has three tattoos on her left arm.
“Please anything helps.”
On July 1, Cruz tweeted: “Although I do not have you, I will always carry you inside this heart that still beats.”
Four days later, Cruz shared a short video of Guillen to Twitter and wrote: “Hope the angels take care of you ’til I see you myself.”
The footage, which has received more than 1.7million views, appears to be taken from inside a restaurant when the pair had been dining indoors.
Cruz was recently spotted kneeling in front of a mural tributing Guillen on July 5, in Houston, Texas.
Who was Aaron Robinson and how is he involved in Guillen’s murder?
US Army Specialist Aaron Robinson killed himself on June 30 as police officers questioned him about Guillen’s disappearance, according to officials.
Robinson, a suspect in connection with Guillen’s disappearance, reportedly shot himself after authorities found the missing soldier’s remains sealed in concrete.
Guillen family attorney, Natalie Khawam told Crime Stories with Nancy Grace that the incident took place just hours after Guillen’s body was found in a shallow Texas grave, Crime Online reported.
According to the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas, Robinson told his 22-year-old girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, to help him hide the body.
An affidavit, reported by KHOU, claims that Robinson told Aguilar he repeatedly hit Guillen in the head with a hammer.
Robinson and Aguilar then allegedly mutilated and burned her body in an attempt to get rid of it, Aguilar reportedly admitted to investigators in an interview on June 30.
Has anyone else been charged?
Cecily Anne Aguilar was charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence, according to the US Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Texas.
Aguilar is the civilian who allegedly assisted a soldier in cutting up Guillen’s body after he reportedly bludgeoned her to death.
Prosecutors said that Robinson’s attempts to burn Guillen’s body didn’t completely work, and he and Aguilar allegedly placed her remains in three different holes and covered them back up.
Investigators who surveyed the Aguilar and Robinson’s photo data found the pair were somewhere along the Leon River in Bell County on April 23 and again on April 26.
On June 30, contractors working on a fence near the Leon River found what looked like human remains.
That same day, Aguilar told investigators that Robinson admitted to her that he killed Guillen.
She confessed that Robinson picked her up from work on April 22 or April 23 and took her near a bridge close to the Leon River.
Aguilar said he showed her a box, on wheels and with handles, that contained a dead female inside.
How do I sign Vanessa Guillen’s petition?
A Change.org petition – titled HOLD THE US ARMY ACCOUNTABLE: Justice for Vanessa Guillen – has received more than half a million signature.
Another petition, which as of Tuesday morning obtained more than 690,000 signatures, was directed to President Trump and members of Congress
The petition calls for military base Fort Hood to be closed down.
It reads: “The military base believed there was foul play in her case but lied about essential details since the beginning.
“The case was not taken seriously until Vanessa’s mother went viral on the internet and then got the case to the news.
“Many other women soldiers have come forward about being sexually harassed and sexually assaulted and not taken seriously when they report the incidents.”
Anyone with information relating to the death of Guillen’s is asked to contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722, or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170.
The discovery of Guillen’s body come after another soldier’s remains were found during the June search.
Police found the body of 24-year-old Pvt Gregory Scott Morales, who disappeared on August 19, 2019.
View more information: https://www.the-sun.com/news/1098325/vanessa-guillen-soldier-fort-hood-memorial-service/