TEXAS (CBS) — Members of the family of a Fort Hood Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, who disappeared more than two months ago, say they think a suspect in an Army CID investigation who committed suicide early Wednesday is linked to the disappearance and Fort Hood is confirming the suspect was a soldier and said the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier is also in custody.
They say also believe Guillen’s remains have been found. Guillen has been missing since April 22nd.
Partial remains were found Tuesday in a shallow grave along the Leon River, but officials have not confirmed the remains are the missing solider.
“This is a national security issue. National security. We’re losing our soldiers here. Not because of ISIS. Not because of terrorism. But because of domestic terrorism on our bases and cover-ups by command. I mean have you ever heard of this?! Have you ever heard of a boss killing their subordinate? I mean this is insane. Who is safe to go to work if you go to work and you’re dying not from war but because your command is harassing you, murdering you, and everyone is covering it up. That is not our military. Those bad folks, they are not the identity of our military,” added Natalie Khawam, Family Attorney.
Guillen’s sister Mayra, during an emotional news conference Wednesday morning in Washington, D.C., said in Spanish she earlier met the man who committed suicide and said he laughed in her face when she asked about Guillen.
“They lied to us since day one. When I first went up to that base, that subject, I met him. Not knowing that he had something to do with it, I felt- something was telling me that he did something. And I wasn’t wrong apparently. He still had the nerve, that same day to laugh in my face. And apparently now, he killed himself. Why- I don’t know. But whoever is responsible has to pay and we demand a congressional investigation,” said Mayra Guillen, sister of Vanessa Guillen.
Fort Hood, meanwhile, confirmed the suspect who shot himself was a soldier and said Texas Rangers have arrested the woman in connection with the disappearance.
The family’s attorney, Natalie Kwaham, however, said during the Washington news conference that two others were involved.
“We told command who we believed it was and why. From there the search went quicker…. Last night they issue a BOLO and that person ran off base and shot himself when they came up to him. This is the same person we have been talking about the superior who she was with that day and harassed her,” said Family Attorney, Natalie Kwaham.
“We stand here for Vanessa. We stand here for justice. We stand here for every other service member who experienced sexual harassment or assault and did not feel safe reporting it out of fear of retaliation. For years the DOD has talked about reform. For years, Congress has pushed the Department of Defense towards the necessary reforms. Some changes have been made, but these changes haven’t gone nearly far enough,” said Tulsi Gabbard.
“All those men and women in our service suffering from sexual harassment, suffering from sexual assault because they reported it, yet they take it as a joke. My sister is no joke. My sister is a human being and I want justice and I want answers. My sister didn’t do this to herself, someone did it. If it’s not someone, it’s various people. If this can happen to my sister, what makes you think it can’t happen to other servicewomen and men?” Vanessa’s sister Lupa.