‘We Demand the Truth’: Family Responds to Update in Search for Vanessa Guillen

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Since April, authorities have been searching for Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old soldier last seen in the parking lot of her barracks at Fort Hood in Texas. On Tuesday, partial human remains were found in Bell County—an area close to the Leon River, which was previously searched on June 22.

The remains have not been identified yet, but the Washington Post reports that Tim Miller, director and founder of Texas EquuSearch, indicated searchers were “99.9% sure” that the remains were Guillen’s, given evidence such as material recovered and witness accounts.

“Our hearts are broken. We feel pain, frustration and devastation. This shouldn’t have happened. We demand a congressional investigation. We demand the truth,” the Guillen’s family attorney Natalie Khawam told CNN in a statement. “If this could happen to Vanessa, this can happen to any one of our sisters, daughters and mothers.”

Before she went missing, Guillen told family members that she was being sexually harassed by a higher-up figure at Fort Hood. However, she indicated she didn’t want to report the harassment because she was afraid of retaliation.

Per ABC 7, Khawam said that she knows of two alleged incidents Guillen experienced: one in which a superior walked in on her while she was showering and another in which she was harassed with vulgar remarks in Spanish.

The remains were found as officials confirmed that one suspect “reportedly displayed a weapon and took his own life” when encountered by officers. According to Khawam, the deceased suspect is the same man who had harassed Guillen. The man’s ex-wife is currently in custody in connection to Guillen’s disappearance.

CNN also reported that Miller said the remains were found 26 miles from where authorities found the remains of a soldier named Gregory Wedel-Morales in June. Wedel-Morales went missing last year.

In an emotional press conference in Washington, D.C., Guillen’s family urged a Congressional investigation and encouraged legislation to change the way sexual harassment investigations in the Army are handled. “My sister did not deserve to suffer. My sister did not deserve this. My family did not deserve this,” Guillen’’s sister Lupe said at the press conference. “If those criminals are still out there, take my word that we will not rest, we will not stop and we will keep fighting until you are behind bars because you’re a disgrace to humanity.”