The U.S. Army said a male suspect is dead and a woman has been charged after the disappearance of a soldier from Fort Hood, Texas.
Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen has been missing for about 10 weeks.
Over the past three days, her case has quickly developed. A dismembered body has been found, a suspect in her disappearance killed himself, and the estranged wife of a former soldier is in custody. Her family received some answers Thursday.
Officials say Guillen was working at an arms room when she went to confirm the serial numbers of weapons and equipment at another arms room. They said Specialist Aaron David Robinson was working there and, for an unknown reason, repeatedly hit Guillen with a hammer, killing her.
Two witnesses told authorities they saw Robinson load a large box into his truck that day and then leave the base.
Cecily Aguilar, 22, is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier who was dating Robinson.
She told officials that Robinson confessed to killing a woman and recruited her to mutilate and hide the woman’s body in an area by the Leon River in Belton, Texas. Army officials said they are waiting for DNA tests to confirm that a body found in that area this week belongs to Guillen.
Court documents state that both Aguilar and Robinson lied to police about what happened, but cell phone evidence revealed inconsistencies in their stories. Aguilar allegedly confessed the truth to police on June 30.
The Army said Robinson fled the base Tuesday, then shot and killed himself before officials could make contact with him.
Authorities did not release a motive for the killing. Aguilar is in custody at the Bell County Jail and was charged with conspiracy to tamper with evidence. An initial court appearance will likely take place next week in Waco.
At the news conference Thursday, Army officials also contended with accusations by Guillen’s family that she’d been sexually harassed in the weeks leading up to her disappearance.
Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt said, “The criminal investigation has not found a link to incidents of sexual harassment. The allegations of sexual harassment made by family, as well as other allegations that have been made...are taken very seriously.”
In the past few weeks, Guillen’s family has criticized the Army’s investigation into her disappearance.
Efflandt said in response to those complaints, “I am really sorry that I was not able to provide them information sufficient to reduce their suffering. I cannot imagine what they’re going through.”
TPR was founded by and is supported by our community. If you value our commitment to the highest standards of responsible journalism and are able to do so, please consider making your gift of support today.