Soldier Vanessa Guillen Was Beaten to Death in Fort Hood Armory, Then Dismembered, Family Attorney Says
The attorney for Vanessa Guillen's family says the soldier was killed while on duty by repeated hammer blows.
Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen died on the day she disappeared, beaten to death with a hammer in the armory where she worked, a family attorney said Thursday, citing information she said was provided during a four-hour meeting with Army Criminal Investigation Command officials.
Guillen was allegedly attacked on April 22 by Spc. Aaron David Robinson, lawyer Natalie Khawam said in a statement to the Army Times. “This heinous act caused her blood to be splashed all over the armory room," she said.
After Guillen died, Robinson allegedly contacted his married girlfriend “to help him bury her bloody body,” Khawam wrote. “At first they tried to set her on fire, but she wouldn’t burn. Then they dismembered this beautiful U.S. soldier’s body with a machete."
The woman,who is in custody at the Bell County Jail, "needs to be brought to justice," the attorney said.
Robinson was identified as a suspect Tuesday evening and a BOLO (be on the lookout for) warning was issued by the base, Khawam said. But the 20-year-old fled Fort Hood on foot, and later shot himself to death about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday on a residential street in Killeen, Texas as law enforcement officers tried to apprehend him, authorities said.
Also Thursday, in their first press conference since Guillen vanished two months ago, base officials confirmed the suspect sought in her disappearance was Robinson.
There were no security cameras in the area where Guillen worked, they said.
Guillen's burned remains were found Tuesday evening in a shallow grave about 20 miles from Fort Hood, according to the family's attorney and the owner of a private search firm involved in looking for her.
Maj. Gen Scott Efflander told reporters Thursday the remains have yet to be formally identified. There is no connection, he said, between allegations Guillen had been sexually harassed on base and her disappearance.
Robinson was identified only as a "co-worker" of Guillen who joined the military in 2017. "We continue to investigate that relationship," said Damon Phelps, a senior special agent with the base's Criminal Investigation Division.
On Thursday, Phelps and Efflander pushed back against public outcries from Guillen's family that investigators continually lied to them and held back information about the investigation into the 20-year-old's disappearance.
Both said base authorities had been in consistent contact with Guillen's relatives, and that a lengthy debriefing had been given to the family on Wednesday.
Earlier that day, Guillen's fathers and sisters, along with Kwaham, condemned military investigators in a Washington, D.C. press conference.
Vanessa's younger sister, Lupe, accused the Army of covering up the case as the search continued.
"They lied to our faces every single day," Lupe Guillen said. "How can this happen on a military base while she was on duty?" My sister's no joke! My sister was a human being!" she shouted.
The civilian suspect in custody is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier and is not being identified pending the filing of criminal charges by local authorities, the military said in a statement Wednesday.
As reporters asked question after question during Thursday's press conference, Phelps repeatedly said he could not comment on details of the ongoing investigation.
"We're not trying to stonewall you," he said. "We're trying to protect the integrity of the investigation."
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