KILLEEN (CBDFW.COM) — The family of missing Fort Hood solider Vanessa Guillén believe the 20-year-old is dead and that a soldier who police say committed suicide as officers approached him is at least one of the people responsible for her disappearance.
During a press conference in Washington, D.C. Guillén family attorney Natalie Khawam identified the person who she says died by his own hand in Killeen, but the identity of the dead soldier has not officially been released.
Killeen Police Department Chief Charles Kimble gave a timeline of events related to the death of the individual who they only referred to as a person of interest.
According to the Chief, the Army Criminal Investigation Division contacted Killeen PD and US Marshals in reference to a person of interest in the Guillén case late Tuesday evening.
“We were informed that the person of interest had left the post [Fort Hood] and was inside the city of Killeen,” Chief Kimble explained during a police department press conference. “During the course of the investigation information was provided on the location of the suspect.”
According to police the person of interest was found walking down a street. “As officers attempted to make contact with the suspect he produced a weapon and committed suicide by shooting himself,” Kimble said.
The man who police would only say was an active duty soldier was pronounced dead at the scene at 1:17 a.m.
Guillén, who was assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment, was last seen at Fort Hood on April 22. Her keys, ID and wallet were found, but her cell phone is missing.
It was before the young woman disappeared that her family claimed she told them she was being sexually harassed by a sergeant at Fort Hood. In past interviews Army investigators said they had no credible reports that Guillén was sexually assaulted.
During the press conference Wednesday Vanessa’s sister, Lupe Guillén, said, “My sister, Vanessa Guillén, was sexually harassed yet nothing was done [sic] to it. They didn’t respect my sister. They didn’t keep my sister safe. They’re always covering up for each other.”
Visibly upset Lupe Guillen said the military doesn’t protect the servicemen and women who put their lives on the line everyday for the nation and its citizens. “How could this happen on a military base?” she asked. “How could this happen while she was on duty? How could this just happen and they let it go under the rug like it was nothing?”
While Army Criminal Investigation spokesman Chris Grey made it clear that there are pieces of information and evidence that can’t be shared with the public during an active investigation he did say, “We have made significant progress in this tragic situation and are doing everything possible to get to the truth and bring answers to the family of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen.”