One suspect dead, suspect’s girlfriend in custody after Vanessa Guillen disappears

Human remains not positively identified

Vanessa+Guillen+military+photo%2C+credited+to+facebook+page+Find+Vanessa+Guillen

Vanessa Guillen military photo, credited to facebook page Find Vanessa Guillen

Ivana Venema-Nunez , Reporter

Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old private first class soldier was last seen at Fort Hood Army base in Killeen, Texas on April 22.

She vanished from the Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters with her belongings, keys, wallet and badge still inside the building.

Fort Hood is the Army’s Premier Installation to train and deploy heavy forces according to the base guide on military.com. 

The base covers 214,968 acres and is the only post in the United States capable of stationing and training two Armored Divisions.

According to the Houston Chronicle, a tip led authorities to search for Guillen  near the Leon River, in Bell County, but searchers had come up empty until the remains of a human body were found on June 30, according to Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller who has been assisting multiple agencies in the search efforts including the Fort Hood Army Criminal Investigation Division Command and the Texas Rangers.  Authorities said the identity of the remains have not been confirmed according to a CNN article.

Miller announced that the remains had been found 26 miles from the site where, earlier in June, authorities found the remains of Gregory Wedel-Morales, a soldier who went missing last year. 

Authorities haven’t announced if the cases are connected. 

Before Guillen went missing, she told her mother that she was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at the base, according to a website created by her family.

Posts on the website explain that Guillen didn’t want to report the harassment because she knew of other female soldiers that had reported sexual harassment and claimed that the Army didn’t believe them.

An attorney representing the Guillen family said her clients were heartbroken and continue to call for the truth about the soldier’s disappearance.

“Our hearts are broken. We feel pain, frustration and devastation. This shouldn’t have happened. We demand a congressional investigation. We demand the truth,” attorney Natalie Khawam told CNN in a statement. “If this could happen to Vanessa, this can happen to anyone of our sisters, daughters and mothers.”

Before her disappearance, a superior came into the bathroom, sat down and watched Guillen take a shower, according to Khawam.

According to Fort Hood investigators, they stated on their Facebook Page they have “no credible information or report that Guillen was sexually assaulted”

An ABC News timeline detailed the public information regarding the events surrounding Guillen’s disappearance.

The timeline begins when Guillen was contacted by Specialist Aaron David Robinson, via text message to deliver paperwork regarding a machine gun that needed to be serviced, according to court documents. 

Khawam was told Guillen and Robinson had an argument in the armory where they worked after she discovered his alleged affair with the estranged wife of a former soldier, according to the article. 

On April 23, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command received notification from Guillen’s captain that she was last seen the day before on the Fort Hood base.

According to court documents, Guillen’s phone records showed that one of the last persons she was in contact with was Robinson.

When Robinson was interviewed, he said he went to the off-post residence he shared with his girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar the day that Guillen went missing and the only time he left the house was to go back to the base to log-in to a computer to enroll in training.

On May 18, two witnesses reported allegedly seeing Robinson  leaving his work area on April 22 with a large box, that appeared “very heavy in weight”, which he loaded into his car before driving away, according to court documents.

The following day, investigators asked to search Robinson’s phone records, which showed several calls to  Aguilar, throughout the day and into the early morning hours of April 23.

When Aguilar was interviewed on June 19, a month later, she stated to investigators that the reason that so many calls were made by Robinson was because she couldn’t find her phone and on April 22 they took a “long drive” to Belton, Tex. to “look at the stars”.  Phone records confirm Aguilar’s story, placing the pair along the Leon River.

During the first search near the Leon River, court documents state no remains had been found but they detected an odor of decomposition.

On June 30, Aguilar confessed that Robinson told her that he’d bludgeoned Guillen to death with a hammer and placed her body in a box before loading the box into his car and driving to Aguilar’s work.  She said he then drove to the Leon River, where he revealed Guillen’s body to her, court records state.

She then told authorities the two of them dismembered Guillen’s body using a “hatchet or machete type knife” and buried pieces of her body in three separate holes.

On July 1, Khawam announced at a press conference at the U.S Capitol that Robinson, the primary suspect in the case, had committed suicide and the second suspect, Aguilar, had been arrested, according to ABC News. 

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who was among the attendees in the press conference, stated that she’s planning to propose legislation to protect U.S. military soldiers from sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Gabbard said she knows “personally the strength of the chain of command. I also know and understand that fear Vanessa must have felt.”

“I have long advocated for real reforms … for them to report these incidents outside the chain of command,” Gabbard added.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas later identified Aguilar as Robinson’s alleged accomplice.

Aguilar, 22, was charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence for helping dispose of Guillen’s body, according to the article. 

Aguilar faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Her arraignment will be on July 6 in federal court in Waco, Tex..