Vanessa Guillen was a 20-year-old US Army soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, in 2020. Vanessa was last seen around NOON EST on April 22 in the parking lot of her apartment, but her car keys, credit cards, and IDs were discovered safely inside her armory barrack.
Shortly after, an investigation was launched, with Vanessa’s family thinking something terrible had occurred, especially given a recent chat the victim had with her own mother, in which she told her mother she was being “harassed by a superior.” Vanessa’s family members even visited with then-President Donald Trump in their search of the truth, resulting in a flurry of changes to how such situations are handled in the army.
What Happened to Vanessa Guillen?
Vanessa’s dismembered and charred remains were discovered at the end of June, about two months after she went missing. On July 2, prosecutors filed accusations against 20-year-old US army specialist Aaron Robinson, alleging that he murdered Vanessa and then attempted to dispose of her body. Aaron, on the other hand, shot and killed himself just a few days before the allegations were made public.
At the same moment, authorities detained Aaron’s girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar. Aaron informed his girlfriend that he had hit Vanessa on the skull with a hammer, killed her, and put her body in a large box, according to court filings. Vanessa’s remains were allegedly dismembered and burned by the couple. Cecily pled not guilty to the grand jury’s indictment on July 14, 2020. Her trial is set to start in January 2023.
Here is a tweet about What Happened to Vanessa Guillen?
What happened to Vanessa Guillen? The Army specialist was allegedly killed and dismembered by fellow soldier Aaron Robinson. https://t.co/c0SqVUuE2t
— ABC 7 Chicago (@ABC7Chicago) March 16, 2023
According to The New York Times, “army leaders have declined to discuss possible motives for the killing.” During the widely panned inquiry, army officials determined that Vanessa was being sexually harassed, though not by Aaron, who was suspected of sexual harassment in unrelated circumstances. Natalie Khawam, Vanessa’s family lawyer, filed a $35 million lawsuit against the United States Army for sexual assault and wrongful death in August 2022.
Where Is Vanessa Guillen Now?
On April 23, her disappearance was discovered and immediately reported. The army put out a statement the following day pleading with the general public for assistance in locating her. On June 30, human remains were found in Bell County, Texas, close to the Leon River, and on July 3, those bones were identified as being Vanessa’s after being examined by a forensic scientist.
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What Is I Am Vanessa Guillen Act?
The circumstances surrounding Vanessa’s disappearance and death served as the impetus for the creation of a piece of legislation known as the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act. This piece of legislation aimed to improve the way sexual assault allegations are investigated by the army by streamlining the process via which victims can come forward with their stories.
As a result of President Joe Biden’s signature of the National Defense Authorization measure, certain provisions of the measure became law on January 1, 2022. These provisions were among those that entered into effect that day. According to the Texas Tribune, under the new law “commanders will no longer be involved in military sexual harassment or se*ual assault investigations.”
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