An attorney for Vanessa Guillen’s family was the first to publicly announce that Aaron Robinson was a suspect in Guillen’s disappearance and that he killed himself. Robinson was not officially named by authorities until an Army press conference on July 2, and since then investigators have said that they believe he killed Guillen. Robinson shot and killed himself when approached by authorities and Cecily Aguilar — the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier — was placed in custody. Guillen, 20, had been missing since late April. She was a soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. The founder of Texas EquuSearch said there were signs that Guillen’s body was covered in concrete, and Guillen’s family attorney told CrimeOnline that Guillen had been bludgeoned to death. Guillen’s story is being featured on a 2020 special in September.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Aaron Robinson, a Fort Hood Soldier, Killed Himself When Officials Were Trying to Locate Him
Aaron Robinson, a soldier in Fort Hood, had fled the post, KXXV reported, and officials were trying to locate him once he was suspected as being involved in Guillen’s disappearance. When they tried to make contact with him when they found him walking on East Rancier Avenue in Killeen, he shot himself, dying on the scene.
The Guillen family’s attorney Natalie Khawam identified him in a press conference on July 1, and the Army identified him on July 2.
In a statement on July 1, the Killeen Police Department said:
On Tuesday, June 30th, late in the evening hours, Special Agents with the Army Fort Hood Criminal Investigation Division contacted the Killeen Police Department and the U.S. Marshals – Lone Star Fugitive Task Force in reference to a person of interest in the missing soldier case from Fort Hood, Vanessa Guillen. We were informed that the person of interest had left the post and was inside the City of Killeen. During the course of the investigation, information was provided on the location of the suspect. The suspect was located walking in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue and as officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, the suspect produced a weapon and committed suicide by shooting himself. The suspect was pronounced deceased at 1:17 a.m. by Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin at the scene.
The person of interest was an active duty soldier and his name has been withheld pending notification next of kin through the Army Casualty Assistance Office.
Any further inquiries to the investigation regarding Vanessa Guillen will be directed to the Army Fort Hood CID.
Khawam said in a press conference: “We told command who we believed it was and why. From there the search went quicker… Last night they issue a BOLO and that person ran off base and shot himself when they came up to him. This is the same person we have been talking about the superior who she was with that day and harassed her.”
It was later revealed that Robinson had been placed under an unarmed escort’s watch on the same day Guillen’s remains were found, ABC 11 reported. He wasn’t in police custody or detained, but authorities knew that his phone had pinged near where Guillen’s body was found. Authorities still aren’t disclosing where he got the gun he used to kill himself, saying the investigation is ongoing.
2. Guillen’s Sister Said She Met the Suspect & Thought Something Wasn’t Right About Him
Guillen’s sister, Mayra, said that she has met the suspect once and she thought something wasn’t right about him, KVUE reported.
She said that while they were searching for Guillen, Robinson laughed in her face.
3. Cecily Aguilar, Robinson’s Girlfriend, Is in Custody
US Army CID announces one military suspect is deceased after taking his own life yesterday in Killeen, Texas, and a civilian suspect has been arrested by the Texas Rangers in connection with the disappearance of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen.https://t.co/WOltbi7zff
— Fort Hood (@forthood) July 1, 2020
Cecily Aguilar, who is the estranged or ex-wife of a former Fort Hood soldier, was also in custody in Bell County Jail after news of Robinson’s death was revealed, KXXV reported. Aguilar and Robinson are friends on Facebook.
On July 14, a Texas judge denied bond for Aguilar, ABC 11 reported.
According to KVUE, she’s the ex-wife of the suspect, but other media sources said at the time that she was married to a former soldier. Khawam first named her to CrimeOnline. She said officials told her that Aguilar may have helped bury and hide Guillen’s body.
Aguilar was living with Robinson when Guillen died, ABC 11 reported.
Guillen’s family had been working tirelessly to get to the truth behind her disappearance.
In May, her sister Mayra Guillen wrote: “My situation right now is not it’s best as I am not working and I’m on top of my sister’s case, I will not let this case fall cold, I’m not stopping until I find her. This will also open doors for many of the other soldiers that have gone missing. I’m in the process of hiring a PI as you guys know…. they are super expensive. But I know with God’s help and all of you guys we’ll be able to bring Vanessa BACK HOME! May God bless you.”
4. The Family Attorney Said Robinson Was Believed To Be Connected to Guillen’s Sexual Harassment
Khawam said the family believes Robinson is the man who walked in on Guillen while she was showering, KXXV reported.
The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command has been investigating claims that she was sexually harassed, ABC 7 reported. Col. Ralph Overland, commander of the 3rd Calvary Regiment, said he had opened an investigation.
“I take allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and we are conducting a thorough investigation,” he said in June.
Khawam told ABC 7 that Guillen was the victim of two instances of sexual harassment, but she feared retaliation and didn’t report them. In one case, her superior walked in while she was showering. In another, someone made vulgar remarks toward her in Spanish. CNN reported previously that one of the people harassing her was one of her sergeants.
Guillen’s mother, Gloria, told CrimeOnline that the sergeant who walked in on her showering had also followed her while she jogged.
In a press conference, Khawam said they believe Robinson is the same one who had sexually harassed Guillen and walked in on her showering, KVUE reported.
However, on July 2, the Army held a press conference and said they had not found any evidence to corroborate claims that Guillen had been sexually harassed, and they couldn’t connect Robinson to sexual harassment claims. Guillen’s family has said Guillen didn’t come forward and feared retaliation.
Khawam said that they need new legislation to change how harassment is reported. She said Guillen would have had to report her harassment internally, which prevents soldiers from feeling safe with coming forward.
5. Aguilar Confessed to Helping Robinson Dismember & Bury Guillen’s Body According to a Criminal Complaint, But Has Since Pleaded Not Guilty
Partial human remains were discovered near Leon River before Robinson died, KSAT reported. Khawam said at the time that those remains were believed to be Guillen’s, which the family confirmed. Tim Miller, founder of Texas Equusearch, told KWTX that “the search is over.” Miller said that Guillen’s family had asked him to look for answers when authorities weren’t making any progress on the case.
Miller spoke with CrimeOnline and said that the suspects had poured freshly mixed concrete onto Guillen’s body. He said they bought lime, shovels, and plastic bags and then covered the body with rocks. He said there were signs that they had tried to burn her body and evidence near Leon River, about 26 miles from the base.
Miller said that on the day that Guillen disappeared, someone in Fort Hood was seen carrying a 3-foot Pelican case at the armory and was struggling to get it into his vehicle. Guillen had been at Fort Hood that day and wasn’t seen again. Miller said a half-burned Pelican case was found near the Leon River, where human remains were discovered.
Khawam told CrimeOnline that sources had reported to her that Robinson was in the armory when Guillen arrived to work. She said that Guillen confronted him about having an affair with Aguilar when she saw Aguilar’s pictures on his phone. Khawam said that officials told her they argued and Robinson bludgeoned her to death with a hammer, leaving blood in the armory room, and then hid her body in a Pelican case. She said she was told that Aguilar helped him dispose of Guillen’s body.
According to a criminal complaint, Aguilar confessed on June 30 and told investigators that Robinson had struck a female soldier in the head on April 22 multiple times, killing her in Fort Hood. She said Robinson put the soldier in a box and moved her to Leon River. She said that Robinson picked her up at a gas station where she worked late at night on April 22, took her to Leon River, and showed her a dead woman inside a box that he had already left at that location. She said she helped Robinson dismember Guillen’s body and bury here.
Here’s a screenshot from that criminal complaint.
She said they returned to the site later with concrete and “continued the process of breaking down the remains.” They later burned their own clothes at their home.
Robinson had been confined to his barracks at Fort Hood, but he absconded on June 30, the complaint reads. Aguilar then, working with the police, called Robinson. He didn’t deny what happened and told her on a “controlled” phone call that they had “found pieces.”
You can read the full complaint against Aguilar here.
On July 14, a Texas judge denied bond for Aguilar, ABC 11 reported. Aguilar, meanwhile, has pleaded not guilty and her trial begins September 28.
Guillen, 20, was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. She was last seen at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22, in the parking lot of the Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, according to an Army press release. She’s a Private First Class in the Army, CNN reported.
Guillen’s sister, Mayra Guillen, said she last spoke with her sister the night before she was last seen. They talked about how Vanessa had planned to buy a new car, Mayra told the Statesman.
Guillen had been working earlier in the day in the armory room. Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card, and wallet were found there. Her car was also still at Fort Hood.
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