Texas soldier Vanessa Guillen was allegedly killed on the day of her disappearance in April by a fellow soldier who bludgeoned her to death with a hammer, her family attorney said on July 2.
Attorney Natalie Khawam, a lawyer for Guillen’s family, told a press conference on Thursday that the 20-year-old Fort Hood Texas soldier was killed on April 22 by Spc. Aaron David Robinson inside an armory room where she worked. He then, with his girlfriend, allegedly attempted to burn her body before dismembering her body with a machete.
Guillen was last seen in the parking lot at the Texas Army base at around 1 p.m. on that day, wearing a black T-shirt and purple workout pants.
The family lawyer said she had been provided the information by officials with the Army Criminal Investigation Command during a four-hour meeting, the Army Times reported.
Robinson, 20, allegedly attacked Guillen on the head with a hammer in a “heinous act” that “caused her blood to be splashed all over the armory room,” Khawam told the Army Times in a statement.
After Robinson killed Guillen, he then allegedly contacted his girlfriend Cecily Anne Aguilar “to help him bury her bloody body,” Khawam said.
“At first they tried to set her on fire, but she wouldn’t burn. Then they dismembered this beautiful U.S. soldier’s body with a machete,” the attorney added.
Robinson died by suicide after officers attempted to make contact, the Killeen Police Department said in a news release on Wednesday.
“During the course of the investigation, information was provided on the location of the suspect. The suspect was located walking in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue and as officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, the suspect produced a weapon and committed suicide by shooting himself. The suspect was pronounced deceased at 1:17 a.m. by Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin at the scene,” the news release said.
The pair were both members of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment’s engineer squadron but were on different troops. Khawam told reporters on Thursday that she believes Guillen was sexually harassed by Robinson.
“She was afraid to [report it] because the sexual harassment was coming from her superiors, so her concern was the retaliation, being blackballed,” Khawam said, noting that the 20-year-old had planned to file a complaint against him before her death. “We believe the person that killed her is that person that sexually harassed her.”
Family members told Army leaders during a news conference last month that Guillen had told them that her superiors had sexually harassed her. One walked into the shower while she was naked, they said.
Khawam said the 20-year-old feared retaliation, so did not report the harassment.
A spokesperson for the Army CID said during the briefing that there was “no credible information” that Guillen had been sexually harassed, calling Robinson a “coworker” and not a supervisor to 20-year-old.
Partial human remains were discovered near the Leon River—about 26 miles east of the base—by U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, Army spokesman Chris Grey confirmed on Tuesday.
The identity of the remains has not been determined.
“It’s believed to be her … pending positive identification that will have to be determined by the medical examiner’s office. But I’m confident to say the search for Vanessa is now over,” Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller told ABC13 this week.
“Our hearts are broken. We feel pain, frustration and devastation. This shouldn’t have happened. We demand a congressional investigation. We demand the truth,” the attorney said.
“If this could happen to Vanessa, this can happen to any one of our sisters, daughters and mothers,” she continued. “There’s no reason why a young beautiful girl who joined the Army, to honorably serve our country, should be in a shallow grave near on our own turf.”
Robinson’s girlfriend, Aguilar, 22, has been charged with second-degree felony tampering/fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair a human corpse and a federal charge of conspiracy to tamper with evidence.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.