Vanessa Guillén’s fiance says family ‘want answers’ over soldier’s death

The fiance of Vanessa Guillén, the young soldier killed at a Texas military base, has given his first nationally televised interview, saying the family “want answers” over the 20-year-old’s death.

Juan Cruz, who proposed to Guillén in March last year, a month before she went missing from the Fort Hood base, told ABC News on Friday that the military had “failed us since the beginning”.

Guillén disappeared on 22 April last year, prompting a lengthy search before her remains were found on 30 June.

Army specialist Aaron David Robinson, who was under military watch, escaped from Fort Hood that same day, and died by suicide as authorities approached him in the middle of the street.

More than a year on, Guillén’s family is still awaiting answers from the military as to how she could have been killed. Guillén had told her mother she was being sexually harassed on the base.

“How can something happen like that on a military base? They’re taking care of us, protecting us, but who’s protecting them?” Cruz said.

In April the army announced it had found Guillén had been sexually harassed by a superior. It said the superior was not Robinson, but said leadership had failed to take necessary action.

An independent review panel set up to examine the structure at Fort Hood found serious flaws with the sexual harassment and assault response prevention program at the base, and identified a climate that ABC News reported was “permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault”.

Guillén’s family have since pushed for an “I Am Vanessa Guillén” law, which would list sexual harassment as a crime under military law. The bill would also establish a confidential reporting system for complaints, and appoint a special prosecutor to investigate sexual offense cases.

“It’s one of the biggest military reforms in history,” Vanessa Guillén’s younger sister, Lupe Guillén, said. “It’s so important because it will bring the help my sister never obtained, it will bring the voice my sister never had.”

Cruz told ABC News he is still struggling to deal with his fiance’s death.

“I’m always thinking about her, like just all the good memories,” Cruz said. “Sometimes when I wake up it’s like: this is reality. She’s no longer here.”

Cecily Aguilar, Robinson’s wife, has been charged with conspiracy to hide and destroy evidence in connection with Guillén’s death.

She told authorities Robinson asked her to help dispose of Guillén’s body, but Aguilar’s lawyers have since asked a federal judge to toss her confession.

Comments are closed.