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Remains ID'd As Missing Soldier Vanessa Guillen, As Authorities Reveal She Was Beaten To Death With A Hammer
Vanessa Guillen's family attorney said Army officials informed the family Sunday that the remains found last week in Bell County, Texas belonged to the slain soldier.
Human remains found buried last week in Texas have been positively identified as missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, according to the family’s attorney.
Natalie Khawam told The Associated Press that Army officials informed Guillen's family Sunday that the remains found last week in Bell County, Texas belonged to the private first class, who disappeared in April.
Authorities said Guillen was beaten to death by a hammer, then dismembered and buried by a fellow soldier.
Khawam said authorities had to use dental records and DNA from a bone and hair samples to positively identify the body.
Army officials have yet to publicly confirm the identification.
Guillen disappeared April 22, the same day investigators believe 20-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson fatally attacked Guillen at the Fort Hood military base where they were both stationed.
A witness told investigators that Guillen had left the arms room where she had been working to go to another arms room that was being supervised by Robinson to confirm serial numbers for weapons and equipment, according to a to the criminal complaint obtained by KDH News.
Guillen—who had left her Army identification card, bank card and keys behind—never returned and was reported missing the following day.
Robinson initially told authorities that Guillen had left the arms room and had been headed to the motor pool when he last saw her.
But Robinson’s girlfriend Cecily Aguilar would later dispute that story, telling investigators that Robinson told her that he had killed a female soldier on the day Guillen disappeared after hitting her “multiple times” with a hammer, according the criminal complaint.
“Aguilar advised the female soldier never made it out of the Army alive (referring to Fort Hood),” the complaint stated.
Robinson allegedly concealed the body by placing it in a box and moving it from the Army base to an area near the Leon River in Belton, Texas. Witnesses saw Robinson pulling a large “tough box” that appeared to be heavy out of the arms room and loading into his truck, according to the criminal complaint.
Aguilar, who has now been charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence, told authorities that after Robinson killed Guillen, he picked her up from the gas station where she worked to help dispose of the body.
They allegedly dismembered the body using an ax or hatchet and a machete type knife, then tried to burn the remains. However, the body “would not burn completely” so they buried the remains in three separate holes that they covered with dirt, according to the complaint.
Aguilar told authorities that after the case began to gain media attention, she recognized Guillen as the woman Robinson had killed.
Robinson “shot and killed himself” Wednesday after being confronted by authorities, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas.
Aguilar could face up to 20 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000 if she’s convicted of the charge against her, authorities said.
Khawam told BuzzFeed News that shortly before Guillen was killed, she had complained to friends and family that a male sergeant had walked in on her when she was in the shower in the women’s locker room.
She did not report the incident to her supervisors because she had been afraid of retaliation, Khawam told the outlet.
The Army opened an investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment in June, according to People.
Guillen’s family said during a press conference last week that they believe Fort Hood officials lied to them during the search for Guillen about the disappearance and sexual harassment allegations.
“They lied to our faces every single day … which is more than two months,” her sister Lupe said.