New Details on the Investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s Murder

Thanks for visiting Popular Crime. The story below is a summary we’re sharing from another news source, who did original reporting on the case. 

The investigation into Vanessa Guillen’s murder advances with one suspect dead at his own hands, and another in custody. We have multiple updates to share. First, the Daily Caller details the latest in the case:

Federal authorities charged a Texas woman Thursday in connection with a U.S. Army specialist who was bludgeoned and dismembered in April.

Cecily Aguilar, 22, was charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence and faces up to 20 years imprisonment, according to a Western District of Texas U.S. Attorney’s Office statement. U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson was accused of killing 20-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen by striking her in the head with a hammer.

“Robinson enlisted the help of Aguilar in disposing of the dead female’s body,” the statement said. “At a later time Aguilar recognized the deceased, whom she helped Robinson mutilate and dispose of, as Vanessa Guillen.”

Robinson attacked Guillen in a Fort Hood armory room causing her blood to splatter on the room’s walls, according to Natalie Khawam, the attorney representing Guillen’s family, the Army Times reported. Robinson and Aguilar dismembered Guillen’s body with a machete before burying her, Khawam said.

“At first they tried to set her on fire, but she wouldn’t burn,” said Khawam in a statement to the Army Times. “Then they dismembered this beautiful U.S. soldier’s body.”

Investigators discovered Guillen’s remains Tuesday, according to Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, a senior Fort Hood leader who spoke at a press conference Thursday. Robinson shot and killed himself when police approached him Wednesday, according to the criminal complaint.

But, Khawam lambasted Fort Hood investigators at a Wednesday press conference for how they handled the case, accusing them of concealing information. She also called for a congressional investigation into the handling of the investigation.

“They should be ashamed of themselves. Protocol was breached in every manner,” Khawam said. “We lost one of our own on our own base.”

New Details on the Investigation into Vanessa Guillen's Murder
Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt addresses local and national media. (Spc. Iesha Little, 11th TTSB Public Affairs/U.S. Army)

The Chicago Tribune reports on the search for Guillen’s remains:

Guillen was last seen April 22 in a parking lot at Fort Hood. She was set to be promoted to specialist this month. Her car keys, barracks room key, ID card and wallet were found in the room where she was working the day she disappeared.

Khawam said she was told by Army investigators that Robinson cleaned up the area where Guillen was killed, placed her body in a container and wheeled her out to his car. After driving to pick up Aguilar, Khawam said, the pair drove to a nearby river and tried to burn Guillen’s body, but later chopped it up with a machete. Then they put cement on the body and buried the remains.

Tim Miller, of Texas Equusearch, who was assisting in the search for Guillen, told KHOU that investigators found a lid last week that belonged to a container consistent with one a witness saw loaded into a car at 8:30 the night Guillen disappeared.

Investigators were called back to the scene this week when a man working in the area reported a foul odor. Miller said it appeared the suspect “buried her, put lime on her, mixed up concrete, put that over her, put dirt over her, rocks and stuff.”

The Huffington Post shares comments from Vanessa’s older sister:

The family had said they believe Guillen was sexually harassed by the military suspect and is calling for a congressional investigation, Khawam said Wednesday.

Guillen’s older sister, Mayra Guillen, told The Associated Press on Thursday that her family was distraught after learning details about her sister’s disappearance. The family had previously said they believe the Army was covering up details of Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance.

“There are a lot of horrifying things that happened that day,” said Mayra Guillen, 22. “There are just no words.”

Mayra Guillen said her sister had spoken with their mother about experiencing sexual harassment, but that her mother has been to devastated to talk about it. From their text conversations, Mayra Guillen said she believed her sister was afraid during her time at Fort Hood.

New Details on the Investigation into Vanessa Guillen's Murder
Guillen’s family say she complained of being sexually harassed

However, not everyone sees the case the same way. The Sun reports on a retired Air Force Officer who is coming under criticism for her comments:

A FORMER senior female military officer has been slammed for suggesting a murdered woman soldier deserved to be sexually harassed.

Betsy Schoeller, who was an Air Force Lt. Col. ,made the comments on Facebook after a friend posted an article about Vanessa Guillen.

Schoeller, who is now a senior lecturer at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, criticised other social media users who expressed sympathy for Guillen.

“You guys are kidding, right? Sexual harassment is the price of admission for women into the good ole boy club,” she wrote in the since deleted post.

“If you’re gonna cry like a snowflake about it, you’re gonna pay the price.”

Her comments sparked outrage from other social media users and a Change.orgpetition is demanding she be fired from her position.

New Details on the Investigation into Vanessa Guillen's Murder
Betsy Schoeller criticised those who sympathised with Vanessa Guillen

We expect more details will emerge in coming weeks. As we get them, you’ll see them here.

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Newspapers call their archives the morgue. I love that. This is probably because so many stories were about murder and crime. I'm archiving the present state of crime, punishment and journalism. I love true crime stories. Join me as I curate and collect the best current cases. Additionally, we'll review past crimes that intrigued and fascinated the public. It's murder and mayhem for the masses.