S.B 623, also known as The Vanessa Guillén Act, was signed in Texas law over the weekend by Governor Greg Abbott.
According to Texas Senator Cesar Blanco, who proposed the bill, the act will allow victims of sexual assault “in any military service” to step outside of the Texas military change of command for help, CBS 4 News reports.
“Our military failed to protect Specialist Vanessa Guillén and countless others from sexual assault,” said Senator Blanco. “With my bill, Texas is leading by example in protecting our service members and providing justice to victims.”
Although the law covers Texas only, Blanco is hopeful that it will one day become federal.
“Some live in fear and are at risk for sexual assault and we need to change and make sure there’s no risk of sexual assault,” Blanco told CBS 9. “And as you know, Texas is leading by example by passing this bill. Congress needs to follow suit and finally pass a federal version.”
In April, the U.S. Army concluded that Guillén’s supervisor and leaders failed to take action after she reported two instances of sexual harassment.
“The report indicates that Guillén informally reported that she was sexually harassed on two occasions, and in both instances her supervisor failed to report the harassment, and other leaders failed to take appropriate action,” the investigation summary read.
According to the report, Spc. Aaron Robinson (the man accused of killing Guillen before taking his own life) was not the person she reported. One of her supervisors, according to the report, was named as the accused.
“In late summer of 2019, SPC Guillén (then a Private First Class) was in her troop orderly room when one of her supervisors made an inappropriate sexual comment in Spanish which SPC Guillén translated as a solicitation for her to participate in a “threesome.” Following this incident, another supervisor noticed a marked change in her demeanor, which prompted the supervisor to ask if she was okay. It was then that SPCGuillén reported the incident to her supervisor and another Soldier. “
What Happened to Vanessa?
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Guillén was last seen alive on April 22, 2020, at around 1 p.m. at the Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, in Fort Hood, Texas. Guillén left behind her car keys, barracks room key, identification card, and wallet in the Arms room, where she worked.
A witness saw Guillén on April 22 as she walked to an adjacent arms room, where Robinson was working. She never came out of the room. According to the Guillén family lawyer, Natalie Kwaham, blood was left all over the room after Robinson bludgeoned Vanessa Guillén to death.
Robinson hid Guillén’s body in a Pelican case, stored it to the side of the armory room, then left the base to buy supplies, Kwaham previously told CrimeOnline. He returned that evening and took the case to the Leon River area, around 12 miles from the base.
Robinson later determined that he couldn’t dispose of Guillén himself and in turn, contacted his girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, and asked her to help. Both Robinson and Aguilar drove to Leon River, then allegedly used a machete to hack Guillen’s body apart.
On April 26, 2020, the suspects returned to Leon River wearing hairnets and gloves. They used cement to encase Guillén’s body parts and lime and rocks to get rid of the evidence. They buried the hairnets and gloves at the crime scene, then drove home and burned the clothes they were wearing that day.
“Vanessa’s sister Mayra was arriving at the base; while was looking for her sister, they were dismembering her body,” Kwaham said during a previous “Crime Stories with Nancy Grace” episode.
After leaving the scene, the suspects allegedly threw the machete, hammer, and Guillén’s cellphone from a car window.
Although two witnesses saw Robinson leaving the base on April 22 with a Pelican case, no warrants were taken out until after investigators found the remains. When authorities pursued Robinson last June, he shot himself in the head. He died at the scene.
Aguilar is now behind bars facing federal counts of tampering with evidence.
Officials told Kwaham that Guillén’s face had been bludgeoned so badly that officials could barely use dental records since her teeth were smashed in during the gruesome attack.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Vanessa Guillen/Handout]