FORT HOOD — The investigation is not over into the disappearance of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, Army officials said.
“The remains recently discovered have not yet been positively identified,” said Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commander.
Fort Hood and Army officials provided an update to the investigation during a news conference Thursday that drew 30 news agencies.
Guillen disappeared April 22 and was last seen in the parking lot of her 3rd Cavalry Regiment headquarters. She wore a black T-shirt and purple fitness style pants when she was last seen at Fort Hood.
This week, human remains were found near the Leon River in Bell County.
Texas Rangers are the lead investigators at the Leon River site, said Damon Phelps, senior special agent for Fort Hood CID.
Army officials said the investigation into her disappearance began on April 23.
Efflandt said there is yet no positive identification on whether they were Guillen’s remains and that it would all depend on “DNA analysis.”
The family of Guillen told reporters in Washington, D.C. Wednesday that they believe the remains to be of Guillen.
A suspect’s name was released in connection to Guillen’s case: Spc. Aaron David Robinson, who died on Wednesday morning from a self-inflicted gunshot as he was approached by a Killeen police officer, authorities said.
Phelps said investigators have only two suspects, contrary to the family’s attorney’s comment Wednesday that there were three suspects. He said there was no credible evidence that Robinson had sexually harassed Guillen.
Natalie Khawam, the lawyer for the family of Vanessa Guillen, told the Army Times Thursday that Robinson bludgeoned Guillen with a hammer in an armory room the day she went missing on April 22.
“This heinous act caused her blood to be splashed all over the armory room,” Khawam said.
Efflandt and Phelps declined repeatedly to discuss the investigation into Guillen’s disappearance saying it was still ongoing.
Phelps said Robinson had fled Fort Hood Tuesday night, and Killeen Police Department, the FBI, U.S. Marshals and the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force joined in the search for him.
“I can tell you that he was not in CID custody at the time,” Phelps said of Robinson’s ability to flee Fort Hood.
Phelps also said that rumors that Robinson was a supervisor of Guillen were incorrect.
“Robinson was an armorer who worked in a building adjacent to the building where Spc. Guillen worked,” Phelps said. “And he was in no way ... in her chain of command.”
Phelps confirmed the second, civilian suspect was in Bell County Jail awaiting civil charges but they were not going to say more about that.
Separately, Bell County authorities identified her as Cecily Anne Aguilar, 22, of Killeen.
Aguilar was charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence in the case, according to a news release late Thursday from the United States Attorney’s Office Western District of Texas.
“Robinson told Aguilar that he killed a female soldier by striking her in the head with a hammer while on Ft. Hood on April 22, 2020. Robinson further admitted to Aguilar that he transferred the woman’s body off of Ft. Hood to a remote site in Bell County,” the release said. “Subsequently, Robinson enlisted the help of Aguilar in disposing of the dead female’s body. The complaint further alleges that at a later time Aguilar recognized the deceased, whom she helped Robinson mutilate and dispose of, as Vanessa Guillen. The remains found in Bell County have yet to be formally identified by authorities.”
Efflandt and Phelps said Guillen’s unit was conducting an investigation into any sexual harassment of Guillen but have not uncovered any credible evidence that she was sexually harassed.
Efflandt said he requested the Army Inspector General to conduct an inspection of the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program at Fort Hood.
The intent of the inspection, according to Efflandt, is to, “A, examine the SHARP program implementation at Fort Hood; B, assess whether the command climate is supportive of soldiers reporting incidents of sexual harassment and sexual assault at Fort Hood; and C, to identify any potential systemic, big issues with the SHARP program at Fort Hood, as well as any resource complaints.”
He said the purpose for requesting the inspection is to provide transparency.
Guillen was promoted to specialist, effective July 1.
FME News Service contributed to this report.