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Foul play suspected in disappearance of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen

Foul play suspected in disappearance of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen
Posted at 2:50 PM, Jun 23, 2020

FORT HOOD, Texas —The family of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen met with officials from the Army base and the Criminal Investigation Command (CID) Tuesday and said foul play is suspected in the woman's disappearance.

Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia and an official with the League of United Latin American Citizens accompanied the family.

Vanessa's mother spoke and said in Spanish that while she's grateful Army officials invited them for an update today, she felt sick visiting Fort Hood. She says the Army took too long to search for her daughter.

She says she asked Fort Hood to shut down the base and look for Vanessa as soon as she went missing and they didn't do it.

"I told them to search barrack by barrack and they never did it. I seek justice, that they respect Vanessa as a soldier, as someone who is serving this country," said her mother.

She demands the people on base are investigated, especially the sergeant who she says her daughter said was sexually harassing her.

"I told them I want her alive. She entered alive," said the mother.

"If my daughter appears dead, close this base immediately," her mother said while crying. "I want her alive, for the love of God. I need my daughter with me. She is my life. That's why I'm fighting until they bring her back and the people who are responsible pay."

"Investigate from the top to the bottom, everyone is responsible."

Garcia said Fort Hood officials said they are convinced foul play is involved at this point and the criminal investigation is ongoing.

The 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, Col. Ralph Overland, has appointed an investigating team led by a senior investigating officer to conduct a commander’s investigation into allegations that Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed.

Congresswoman Garcia says there are discrepancies about when Fort Hood officials say they started searching for Vanessa and when the family tried to contact the base.

Congresswoman Garcia and the Guillen family's lawyer also said the Army told the family the base has regular check-ins through the day. The sergeant who checked their barracks at some point after she went missing reported that Vanessa was there but later admitted he did not actually see her.

"We gotta remember this is a story about a family who is hurting," said Garcia. "We are dealing with a tragedy."

Mayra Guillen, Vanessa's older sister, said she hopes the community keeps searching for Vanessa.

The 20-year-old soldier was reported missing from Fort Hood on April 22. She was assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment, and was last seen in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters on Fort Hood. 11:30 was the last time anyone had contact with her.

There is a $50,000 reward for information on her whereabouts.

This story was originally published by Thalia Brionez at KXXV.