Update: On Wednesday, the Killeen Police Department and the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command announced that one suspect in the disappearance of Vanessa Guillen died by suicide while police were closing in on him. Another suspect was arrested by authorities in relation to the case, though neither names have been disclosed.
This story was originally published on June 30.
Ten weeks after Vanessa Guillen vanished from Fort Hood Army base in Texas, authorities are investigating the discovery of human remains found in a field. Officers were called to the field on Saturday afternoon after a citizen spotted the remains in Killeen, TX. According to the U.S. Criminal Investigation Command (CID), the remains have not yet been identified.
“Due to extensive investigative work conducted by Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, agents have returned to an area of interest close to the Leon River, Bell County, Texas for more investigative work in the search for PFC Vanessa Guillen,” CID Chief of Public Affairs, Chris Grey told Refinery29 in a statement.
According to Grey, after receiving additional information, agencies discovered "partial human remains" from a forensic anthropologist's analysis. Grey confirmed that Army CID agents were on the scene with Texas Rangers, the FBI, and Bell County Sheriff’s Department. “No confirmation as to the identity of the remains has been made at this point and we ask for the media and public’s understanding that the identification process can take time,” Grey continued. Refinery29 also reached out to the Bell County Sheriff’s Department and the Killeen Police Department for comment.
A press release from Fort Hood issued on April 27 says that Guillen was last seen on April 22 at 1 p.m. in a parking lot at squadron headquarters in Fort Hood. She worked as an Army Private First Class specializing in small arms and artillery repair. Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card, and wallet were later found in the armory room where she worked earlier that day. Her phone remains missing, reports CBS News. Investigators suspect foul play.
“The facts aren’t good. I don’t like them,” Natalie Khawam, Guillen’s family’s attorney told ABC News on June 18. “There were a few incidents where she had told her colleagues, her friends, her family about being sexually harassed but she was afraid to report it. How does someone disappear on a base that has more protection and safeguards than anyone else on the planet?”
Three weeks before her disappearance, Guillen told her mother that she was sexually assaulted by one of her Sergeants on Fort Hood, but did not want to say who it was for fear of retaliation. “My mom tried to convince me to give her the name of the person who was harassing me, but I didn’t want to get in trouble,” reads a website set up on Guillen’s behalf by her family which is written from her perspective.
“My mom told me that she would report it for me, but I told her that I knew of other female soldiers that had reported sexual harassment and that the US Army didn’t believe them.” According to the website, Guillen told family before her disappearance that the sergeant in question would follow her around the base “whenever [she] would run and exercise.”
According to CID, Guillen’s disappearance, whether the remains are connected or not, continues to be an ongoing investigation.