Texans across the state march to demand justice for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén

Texas

Guillén, a 20-year-old Army specialist, went missing in April from the Central Texas Army base. Remains found last week were confirmed to be hers, her family said. Her disappearance sparked protests against the military for its handling of sexual harassment allegations.

Dawn Gomez holds her 3-year-old granddaughter, Saryia Greer, who waves at Vanessa Guillen’s mural painted by Alejandro “Donkeeboy” Roman Jr. on the side of Taqueria Del Sol, Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Houston. Army investigators believe Guillen, a Texas soldier missing since April, was killed by another soldier on the Texas base where they served, the attorney for the missing soldier’s family said Thursday. (Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP)


Texans across the state march to demand justice for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén” was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.


In major Texas cities, protesters and mourners took to the streets over the weekend as the remains found near Fort Hood were confirmed by family to belong to missing Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén.


Guillén, 20, had been missing from the Central Texas Army base since April. The remains of a body found in a nearby shallow grave last week pushed the case into the national spotlight, according to The Washington Post. On Saturday and Sunday, protesters in Houston — Guillén’s hometown — criticized the speed of the investigation into Guillén’s disappearance and called for the military to reform its investigations into sexual assault allegations, the Houston Chronicle reported. The soldier had reportedly told her family before her disappearance that she had been harassed on base, and the key suspect in her death had reportedly been suspected of harassing her.


Demonstrators and mourners marched through the streets and lit candles in Houston, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso on Sunday, holding “Justice for Vanessa” signs and U.S. and Mexican flags for the Army specialist, who was Mexican American.


Last week, after the remains were found, the U.S. Department of Justice said the main suspect in Guillén’s death, fellow Fort Hood soldier Aaron Robinson, shot and killed himself when confronted by police. A criminal complaint alleged Robinson, 20, admitted to another woman he killed a female soldier by bludgeoning her with a hammer in April and then took her body to a remote spot in Bell County. The woman, Cecily Aguilar, 22, faces a federal charge of conspiracy to tamper with evidence. She’s accused of helping mutilate and dispose of Guillén’s body.


A lawyer for Guillén’s family told the Chronicle she gave Robinson’s name to the Army earlier, after learning he may have previously harassed her. Fort Hood officials said in June it had launched an investigation into Guillén’s sexual harassment claims, but protesters said the actions were too slow and not enough. They called for a sweeping cultural change, noting the military’s history of unchecked sexual violence, the Chronicle reported.




Friends of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén gathered outside Power House Gym in Houston during a vigil held in her honor on Sunday.
Friends of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén gathered outside Power House Gym in Houston during a vigil held in her honor on Sunday. Briana Vargas for The Texas Tribune

Juan Cruz kneels in front of a mural honoring his girlfriend, Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén, on Sunday, July 5, 2020.
Juan Cruz kneels in front of a mural honoring his girlfriend, Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén, on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Briana Vargas for The Texas Tribune


People gathered at a mural and memorial honoring Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén at Houston's Taqueria del Sol on Sunday.
People gathered at a mural and memorial honoring Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén at Houston’s Taqueria del Sol on Sunday. Briana Vargas for The Texas Tribune


Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Houston during a protest over the death of Vanessa Guillen. Guillen was a Houston-native who went missing from Fort Hood in April and is presumed to have been murdered by a fellow soldier. July 4, 2020.
Hundreds of protesters marched through downtown Houston during a protest over the death of Vanessa Guillen. Guillen was a Houston-native who went missing from Fort Hood in April and is presumed to have been murdered by a fellow soldier. July 4, 2020. The Texas Tribune

A protester holds up a shirt during a march against the death of Vanessa Guillen. Guillen is a Houston-native who went missing from Fort Hood in April and is presumed to have been murdered by a fellow soldier.
A protester holds up a shirt during a march against the death of Vanessa Guillen. Guillen is a Houston-native who went missing from Fort Hood in April and is presumed to have been murdered by a fellow soldier. The Texas Tribune


People marched through downtown Houston on Saturday during a protest over the death of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén.
People marched through downtown Houston on Saturday during a protest over the death of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén. Mark Felix for The Texas Tribune

El Pasoans held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen who was murdered in the armory room at the army base. July 2, 2020,
El Pasoans held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen who was murdered in the armory room at the army base. July 2, 2020, Mark Lambie/El Paso Times via REUTERS

El Pasoans held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen who was murdered in the armory room at the army base. July 2, 2020,
El Pasoans held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen who was murdered in the armory room at the army base. July 2, 2020, Mark Lambie/El Paso Times via REUTERS


Protesters marched and held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén at the state Capitol on Sunday.
Protesters marched and held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén at the state Capitol on Sunday. Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

Protesters marched and held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén at the state Capitol on July 5, 2020.
Protesters marched and held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén at the state Capitol on July 5, 2020. Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune
Protesters marched and held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén at the state Capitol on July 5, 2020.
Protesters marched and held a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén at the state Capitol on July 5, 2020. Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune




Irma Ramos holds a sign that says, “No mas,” at a vigil for slain Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén at the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. The hashtag #NoMas was used as a sign of solidarity against allegations of the military's mishandling of sex crimes.
Irma Ramos holds a sign that says, “No mas,” at a vigil for slain Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén at the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. The hashtag #NoMas was used as a sign of solidarity against allegations of the military’s mishandling of sex crimes. Jolene Almendarez for The Texas Tribune

More than 100 people gathered for a vigil in San Antonio to honor slain Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén.
More than 100 people gathered for a vigil in San Antonio to honor slain Army Specialist Vanessa Guillén. Jolene Almendarez for The Texas Tribune


Rebecca Leal holds a sign at a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén. Leal was so distraught at the news of Guillén’s death that she spent 16 hours drawing her likeness on the sign for the vigil at the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio.
Rebecca Leal holds a sign at a vigil for Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén. Leal was so distraught at the news of Guillén’s death that she spent 16 hours drawing her likeness on the sign for the vigil at the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio. Jolene Almendarez for The Texas Tribune

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2020/07/06/fort-hood-soldier-vanessa-guillen/.


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