KILLEEN, Texas - Fort Hood officials spoke out publicly for the first time about the disappearance of Spc. Vanessa Guillen who has been missing since April 22.
Fort Hood Senior Commander, Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, III Corps deputy commanding general, Fort Hood's U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), and representatives from law enforcement agencies who are assisting with the investigation also spoke at the press conference.
Guillen was promoted to specialist from private first class effective July 1 due to time in service, Fort Hood officials say.
Officials say currently there are two investigations going on: one into Guillen's disappearance and the other into whether Guillen was sexually harassed.
Maj. Gen. Efflandt says that the remains that have been discovered have not been positively identified and that they will share the findings when the DNA results come in. He said that investigations continue and that the scenes where Guillen was abducted and where the remains were found remain active. He said that there so far has not been a connection found between Guillen's disappearance and sexual harassment.
CID Special Agent Damon Phelps said that they met with Guillen's family and were as transparent as they could be with where they were in the investigation. He says that more than 10,000 investigative hours into the Guillen case. He says two suspects have been identified and that any reports of more suspects at this time are incorrect.
The civilian suspect was later identified as 22-year-old Cecily Anne Aguilar of Killeen. Texas Rangers arrested Aguilar Wednesday and officials say she is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier and is currently in custody in the Bell County Jail.
The military suspect who took his own life when law enforcement attempted to make contact with him has now been identified as Spc. Aaron David Robinson of Calumet City, Illinois.
Spc. Aaron David Robinson (Fort Hood)
Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, along with the U.S. Marshals, Killeen Police Department, and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force were attempting to locate Robinson from Fort Hood who fled the post late yesterday. While law enforcement agencies attempted to make contact with Robinson, he reportedly displayed a weapon and took his own life.
CID Agent Phelps says reports that Robinson was in Guillen's chain of command are not correct. He also added that there is no information right now corroborating that Robinson sexually harassed Guillen.
Phelps also said there was no credible information at this time that Guillen was sexually assaulted and no official reports that Guillen was sexually harassed.
Maj. Gen. Efflandt said that any incident of sexual harassment or assault is fully investigated and said he has called for a review.
On June 30, partial human remains were found close to the Leon River in Bell County, an area of interest in the search for Guillen. More remains were found in another shallow grave on July 1.
"We did have some cadaver dogs come out ... and we were able to recover what we believe are more possible human remains," said Major T.J. Cruz of the Bell County Sheriff's Office. "It's [the second grave] probably about four to six feet apart from what we recovered yesterday."
Fort Hood officials and Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. (Fort Hood Press Center)
The remains were also encased in a cement-like substance. The substance is being sent off to a lab to be tested and identified. Cruz says they believe they have found all the remains. Positive identification of the remains is pending.
20-year-old Vanessa Guillen was last seen on the morning of April 22 in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood, Texas, and has not been heard from since.
Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card, and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day. She was last seen in the parking lot wearing a black t-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.
The Army Criminal Investigation Command has been working closely with multiple law enforcement agencies throughout this investigation to include the FBI, Belton Police Department, Bell County Sheriff’s Department, the United States Marshals Service, the Texas Rangers and the Texas Department of Public Safety.
According to CID officials, this is still an open and ongoing criminal investigation.
Vanessa’s sisters, Lupe and Mayra, were critical of the lack of action and transparency from Fort Hood officials at a news conference in Washington.
"My mother does not deserve this. I don’t deserve this. My family does not deserve this. Vanessa Guillen did not deserve this. My sister Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed yet nothing was done to it. Fort Hood lacks the responsibility, safety and respect because they didn’t respect my sister," Lupe Guillen said.
"We need the congressional investigation as soon as possible. They lied to us since day one. Fort hood is hiding. I don't know what, I don't know who," Mayra Guillen said.
A spokesman for Army CID, Chris Grey, says, "We have made significant progress in this tragic situation and are doing everything possible to get to the truth and bring answers to the family of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen."
“There is still a lot of investigative work to be done and we ask for the public and media’s patience," Grey adds.