Human remains found Tuesday evening in Texas are believed to belong to missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, her family and their attorney said Wednesday in an emotional press conference in Washington, D.C.
Lawyer Natalie Khawan also said she believed that a person of interest in the case who fatally shot himself early Wednesday was a suspect in Guillen's death. Khawan and Guillen's relatives blasted the military over its handling of the case, saying investigators had continually lied to them about the soldier's disappearance from the base two months ago.
"We lost a life. We lost a beautiful young soldier," Khawam said. "Enough is enough." As the press conference was being held, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command released a statement:
"The person who took his own life earlier today in Killeen after being sought by Killeen police and federal marshals was a soldier from Fort Hood and had fled the base earlier in the day. A civilian has been arrested in connection with Vanessa Guillen's disappearance. The civilian suspect is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood Soldier and is currently in custody in the Bell County Jail awaiting charges by civilian authorities."
Guillen had told family friends she was being sexually harassed on the base by her superior, but was afraid to report it, her relatives said.
"We stand here for justice. We stand here for Vanessa," Khawan said. "We stand here for every service member who suffered harassment and didn't feel safe reporting it."
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?"
Texas EquuSearch, a private search team involved in looking for the missing private first class told a local TV station Tuesday evening that "The search for Vanessa is now over."
The remains found Tuesday evening have not been formally identified, but her family and their lawyer believe them to be Vanessa's.
Khawan said there were two other suspects in custody in connection with Guillen's disappearance. The person who shot himself about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday was a Fort Hood soldier being sought for questioning by military investigators, she said.
"Last night they issued a BOLO (be on the lookout for), and that person ran off base and shot himself when they came up to him," the attorney said. "This is the same person we have been talking about, the superior" who harassed her, said the lawyer.
Military and local officials said more details about the suicide and the arrests would be released later on Wednesday.