Austin, Texas – Federal and military investigators said a soldier who had been missing since April was killed on Thursday by a soldier stationed on the same base in Texas. The unveiling followed the army’s request to publish details of its investigation into the disappearance.
A lawsuit filed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the western Texas district accuses a civilian of hiding the body of 20-year-old soldier Vanessa Guillen. The document, which was created in collaboration with the Army Criminal Investigative Command and the FBI, states that the civilian helped the other soldier get rid of evidence after hitting Guillen at Fort Hood in Central Texas with a hammer and the body later dismembered and deposited.
Human remains were found near the Leon River in Bell County, about 20 miles east of Fort Hood, on Tuesday, in search of guilles. Her family said through attorney Natalie Khawam that they believe evidence shows the remains are Guillen, but the authorities said they are still waiting for positive identification.
“The whole thing is devastating, cruel, barbaric,” said Khawam.
The army said on Wednesday that the soldier suspected of being Guillens disappeared killed himself.
In a press conference on Thursday, the army identified the soldier suspected of being Guillen disappeared as Aaron David Robinson. Army investigators refused to comment further on the details of Guillen’s case, saying they did not want to jeopardize the ongoing investigation.
The lawsuit, released later Thursday, says the civilian arrested in connection with the Guillen case is Cecily Aguilar, 22, of Killeen, Texas, near Fort Hood. Aguilar faces a conspiracy to manipulate evidence.
Robinson hired Aguilar to help him dispose of Guillen’s body. Aguilar later recognized Guillen, the complaint says, and helped Robinson mutilate and hide her body.
Aguilar was arrested on Wednesday and detained at Bell County Prison in Belton, Texas, on Thursday, according to accounting records. It was unclear whether she had a lawyer who spoke on her behalf.
Khawam said the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Department told her that Robinson cleaned up the area where Guillen was killed, put her body in a container, and took her to his car. After driving to pick up Aguilar, Khawam said, they drove to a nearby river and tried to burn Guillens’ body, but later chopped it up with a machete. Then they put cement on the body and buried the remains.
Texas Equusearch’s Tim Miller, who helped locate Guillen, told KHOU that last week the investigators found a lid that belonged to a container that matched one that was a witness at night in the Guillen disappeared into a car at 8:30 a.m.
Investigators were called back this week when a man working in the area reported a foul smell. Miller said it appeared that the suspect had “buried them, put lime on them, mixed concrete that lay over them, dirt over them, stones and such.”
The family had said they believed Guillen had been sexually molested by the military suspect and was calling for a Congressional investigation, Khawam said on Wednesday.
Guillen’s older sister, Mayra Guillen, told The Associated Press on Thursday that her family was upset after learning details about her sister’s disappearance. The family had previously said they believed the army had covered up details about Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance.
“There are many terrible things that happened that day,” said Mayra Guillen, 22. “There are simply no words.”
Mayra Guillen said her sister had spoken to her mother about sexual harassment, but her mother was too devastated to talk about. In her text talks, Mayra Guillen said that she believed her sister was scared during her time at Fort Hood.
Army investigators said Thursday they had no credible evidence that Vanessa Guillen had been sexually harassed or attacked.
“We are still investigating their interactions, but there is currently no credible information for reports that specialist Robinson sexually harassed specialist Guillen,” said Damon Phelps, Fort Hood’s CID agent.
Guillen was last seen in a parking lot in Fort Hood on April 22. She should be promoted to specialist this month. Her car keys, barrack room key, ID card and wallet were found in the room where she worked the day she disappeared.
Authorities said Wednesday Robinson, 20, of Calumet City, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago on the Indiana border, had pulled a gun and shot himself when the police tried to contact him.
The CID of the Army and the League of United Latin American Citizens offered a $ 50,000 reward for information leading to Guillen’s whereabouts.
Acacia Coronado is a corps member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program where journalists report on hidden issues in local newsrooms.
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