Human remains were recently found in Bell County, Texas, and identification is pending, but some fear these remains belong to missing Foot Hood soldier Private First Class Vanessa Guillen, 20. Natalie Khawam, an attorney for her family, told CBS News in a Wednesday report that investigators told the relatives that they believe the missing woman was found dead.
Tim Miller, founder of the nonprofit search and rescue group EquuSearch, hedged no words.
“The search for Vanessa is now over,” he told ABC 7.
“Due to extensive investigative work conducted by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, agents have returned to an area of interest close to the Leon River, Bell County, Texas for more investigative work in the search for PFC Vanessa Guillen,” the Army Criminal Investigation Command said in a statement. “After receiving additional information, agents have discovered what has been described as partial human remains after analysis from a forensic anthropologist. Army CID agents are currently on scene with the Texas Rangers, the FBI and Bell County Sheriff’s Department. No confirmation as to the identity of the remains has been made at this point and we ask for the media and public’s understanding that the identification process can take time. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, no further information will be released at this time.”
Guillen was last seen on April 22 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Foot Hood, authorities say.
From a press release:
Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day. She was last seen in the parking lot wearing a black t-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.
Guillen’s family has voiced frustration with the Army, and the alleged facts of how she was treated before her disappearance. They say she claimed to have been sexually harassed.
“The facts aren’t good,” Khawam told ABC 13 in a Tuesday report. “I don’t like them. There were a few incidents where she had told her colleagues, her friends, her family about being sexually harassed but she was afraid to report it. How does someone disappear on a base that has more protection and safeguards than anyone else on the planet?”
She said she learned about two allegations: in which a superior walked in on Guillen showering, and another one pelting her with obscene statements in Spanish.
Foul play has been suspected in Guillen’s disappearance.
“At this point, investigators have no credible information or report that Vanessa Guillen was sexually assaulted [sic] or that this case is in any way connected to the investigation into the disappearance of PV2 Gregory Wedel-Morales, who was last seen on the night of Aug. 19, 2019 while driving his car in Killeen, Texas,” the Army said in a June 15. “Both of these allegations have been widely circulated via the media and on social media.
The U.S. Army announced Wednesday that a suspect in the case died by suicide when confronted by authorities. Officials also arrested a civilian suspect, who they described as the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier. Neither person has been named as of the afternoon of Wednesday, July 1.
Update – July 1, 2020, 3:46 p.m.: We added information about the two suspects.
[Image via U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Commmand]
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