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LM Otero Offerings sit in front of a mural of slain Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen painted on a wall in the south side of Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, July 11, 2020. U.S. Army officials say they will begin an independent review of the command climate at Fort Hood, examining claims and historical data of discrimination, harassment and assault, following calls for a more thorough investigation into the killing of the soldier from the Texas base.

For the first time since she was reported missing on April 22, the family of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen and their attorney will have the chance to meet with President Donald Trump Thursday.

A news conference and march for Guillen is scheduled to begin at the U.S. Capitol in Washington at 7:30 this morning. After announcing the introduction of the #IAmVanessaGuillen Bill, family and supporters of the Guillen family, members of Congress and community leaders will march to the White House, where Trump will meet with members of Guillen’s family, according to their attorney, Natalie Khawam.

Trump is then expected to hold his own press conference announcing his support for the bill at 11:30 a.m., the attorney said in a statement.

“It’s a great day for everybody, marching for justice and equality,” Khawam said by telephone on Wednesday. “We look forward to bringing this message not just to Congress but to the president for the bill to pass.”

If the bill passes and becomes law, it will allow active-duty service members to file sexual harassment and assault claims to a third-party agency instead of their chain of command.

Guillen, age 20 at the time of her death, was found dead in late June in eastern Bell County after she was reported missing from Fort Hood since April 22. A suspect in the case, Fort Hood Spc. Aaron David Robinson, fatally shot himself July 1, and another suspect, Killeen resident Cecily Aguilar, is in custody facing federal charges. Aguilar told investigators that Robinson on April 22 struck a “female soldier in the head with a hammer multiple times at his arms room, killing her on Fort Hood.”

Prior to her being reported missing, Guillen had told her family she had been sexually harassed by an unnamed soldier at Fort Hood.

“We will not accept anything less than justice for Vanessa,” Khawam said in a news release. “When someone volunteers to serve our country, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect by their fellow service members. This bill will help us provide the protection and respect to others that was denied Vanessa.”

The meeting with Trump was originally scheduled for Tuesday, but due to scheduling conflicts was moved to the following day.

swilson@kdhnews.com | 254-501-7463

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