Remains found earlier this week east of Fort Hood in Texas are those of Pfc Vanessa Guillen, her family told the Washington Post on Sunday.
According to the Post, family members said that Army investigators had made the positive identification, 2 1/2 months after Guillen’s disappearance from the base.
The discovery of the remains on Tuesday sent investigators to Spc Aaron Robinson, who killed himself as they closed in. Robinson’s girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, has been arrested and charged with conspiracy to tamper with evidence.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, an affidavit filed in Aguilar’s arrest said that Robinson had beaten Guillen to death with a hammer on April 22 and then engaged Aguilar, who is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier, to help him dispose of the body near the Leon River. The two of them used a machete to hack Guillen’s body apart, initially trying to bury the parts in separate graves. They returned a few days later and encased the body parts in cement buried in shallow graves.
Investigators were looking at Robinson and Aguilar early on in their probe, as witnesses reported in May seeing Robinson lug a heavy case out of the Armory where he and Guillen worked. Using data from their phones, investigators searched an area near where the remains were ultimately found, but found only indications of fire, portions of a box, and the smell of decomposition — but no body, the affidavit said.
Nine days later, workers building a fence just a few feet away smelled decomposition and saw hair. They called police, and later that day, Aguilar was in custody. Robinson fled his barracks, even though he was confined because of COVID-19. The affidavit said that police had Aguilar call Robinson, who told her “Baby, they found pieces, they found pieces.”
Police ultimately found him, but he shot himself before he could be arrested.
Guillen had reported told her family that she was being sexually harassed at work at the base but didn’t feel safe reporting it.
She felt if she spoke, something would happen,” her sister Mayra Guillén told The Post. “I now realize everything leads back to them harassing her at work.”
The Army, however, said it had found no connection between Guillen’s death and the allegations.
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[Featured image: Vanessa Guillen/US Army]