Private first class Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old soldier last stationed at an army base in Fort Hood, Texas, has been missing since April 22 even though most of her belongings, including her car, car keys and wallet, were left behind.
Since her disappearance, rallies have been held, the reward has been increased and celebrities such as Salma Hayek have gotten involved to raise the profile of her disappearance. Remains were also found near Fort Hood, leading some to speculate that Guillen had been found, which the Army has disputed.
Anyone with any information regarding her disappearance is being asked by the United States Army to contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722, the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170 and anonymously submit information here.
Army Disputes Social Media Posts Saying Guillen Was Found, Sister Says Remains Are Not Vanessa Guillen
Gracias a dios que no es mi hermana 🙏🏻
— Mayra Guillen (@mguilen_) June 20, 2020
Local TV station ABC-13 reported that the skeletal remains of a body were found in a field near the 3200 block of Florence Road. The discovery led to social media posts suggesting that Guillen had been found.
However, the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CID) said that “they have no credible information that any of the social media posts were true,” according to Chicago TV station ABC-7.
Vanessa’s sister, Mayra Guillen, tweeted in Spanish, “Thank god she is not my sister.”
REWARD INCREASED IN MISSING SOLDIER CASE
Persons with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170. They can also anonymously submit information at https://t.co/9s3SrHcNdo#FortHood #FindVanessaGuillen #Doit4Vanessa pic.twitter.com/6dVnem0eFy
— Fort Hood (@forthood) June 15, 2020
The Army initially offered a $15,000 reward and later increased it to $25,000 and the League of Urban Latin American Citizens (LULAC) also contributed $25,000, CNN reported. Houston rapper Baby Bash also said that he would add $5,000 to the reward via Facebook, bringing the total to $55,000.
Guillen is still considered missing.
The Army Is Looking Into Sexual Harassment Allegations Guillen’s Family Reported Prior to Her Disappearance
The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command has said that it is investigating claims that Guillen was sexually harassed, according to ABC-7. Col. Ralph Overland, commander of the 3rd Calvary Regiment, said that he had already opened an investigation into the allegations before Guillen disappeared based on information from Guillen’s family. “I take allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and we are conducting a thorough investigation,” he said.
According to what Attorney Natalie Khawam told ABC-7, Guillen had told family members that she was the victim of two instances of sexual harassment, but didn’t report them because she was afraid of retaliation. Khawam said Guillen had said in one instance, a superior had walked in on Guillen showering and in another instance, someone made vulgar remarks to her in Spanish. According to what CNN reported, one of the people harassing Guillen was one of her sergeants.
“The facts aren’t good. I don’t like them,” Khawam said in the ABC-7 report. “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?”
Guillen Was Last Seen In A Parking Lot At Fort Hood
Guillen, according to ABC-13, grew up in southeast Houston, graduated from Cesar Chavez High School, and loved Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny. Other reports note that she played soccer and was an avid runner. In the military, she was a 91F Small Arms/Artillery Repairer.
“Guillen maintained close ties with her family and the city of her birth, visiting there frequently while stationed at Fort Hood,” according to the Army. She is of Hispanic descent, 5-feet-2-inches tall, 126 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
Guillen was last seen between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters of the 3rd Calvary Regiment on Fort Hood, the Army reported. She was wearing a black t-shirt and purple fitness pants. Her car keys, barracks room key, ID and wallet were found in the armory room where she had been working.
Her phone has not yet been located.
Since her disappearance, officials said that more than 500 soldiers had conducted searches in building, barracks, fields, training areas, lakes and trails for Guillen, the New York Times reported. An aircraft also spent more than 100 hours in flight searching for her and 150 people have been interviewed.