Supporters of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen cried out her name – as they made their way from Republic Square Park to the gates of the Texas State Capitol.
An angry, yet determined mood set the tone of the march.
Today, the U.S. Army positively identified the remains of Guillen, which were found on a remote site in Bell County. But, her family is no closer to getting closure. Her cousin, Uriel Guillen Aranda, says they still have many unanswered questions leading up to her death, doubting any explanations the Fort Hood Army Base has given them so far.
“I know that there’s something fishy going on in Fort Hood, and we need to either restructure that place or we need to shut it down,” said Aranda.
While investigators named fellow soldier Aaron David Robinson as a suspect in her killing, Aranda says Robinson is being used as a scapegoat to distract from claims she was sexually harassed by others at Fort Hood. The family is demanding more answers beyond the army – they’re calling for a congressional investigation.
“She didn’t know that her own Fort Hood base was gonna turn their back on her, because everybody, even when she disappeared, stayed silent,” said Aranda.
Today’s protest is just the beginning for Guillen’s loved ones. At 20-years old, they say her life was cut too short. She simply wanted to serve her country.
“She had dreams of becoming a soldier, since she was ten-years-old,” said Aranda. “So, imagine those thoughts that she had of becoming a soldier. She just thought, ‘Oh, I’m gonna go out there and be a soldier and protect the people.’”
Aranda, though unable to provide details, says the family plans to work alongside lawmakers to bring justice to Guillen.