Family, attorney of missing Fort Hood soldier take their search for answers to Washington
The case of the 20-year-old missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen made its way to the nation’s capital Wednesday with family members and the attorney for Guillen calling for action in the wake of her disappearance. They are calling on leaders to help not just in Guillen’s case but other cases like hers.
Cries for justice came from Guillen’s sisters Lupe and Mayra. Guillen’s family is adamant that they have been lied to as they seek truth.
“She signed that contract with the Army to protect the country. Yet look how they treated her. Like she was nothing,” said Lupe Guillen.
During a press conference at the Navy Memorial in Washington, family members and attorney Natalie Khawam argue Guillen was the victim of a systemic failure to deal with sexual harassment claims in the military. They say she reported sexual harassment to family members and other soldiers, but her attorney say Guillen was afraid to report to her superiors because her allegation was against a superior.
Khawam wants Congress to change how harassment is reported and investigated, telling reporters independent investigations are the key component of legislation she would like to see become law.
“It’s going to be independent it’s going to be unbiased, it does a review, does its investigation,” said Khawam.
Khawam is also asking for a Congressional hearing on Guillens’s case to find out if it should have been handled differently
“This should never have happened and we will never know what happened ever until we get a Congressional investigation,” said Khawam.
Fort Hood did not respond to our request for comment. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) says he has been in touch with Fort Hood and Army officials about the case. A spokesperson for Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) says, “Pfc. Vanessa Guillén’s disappearance is extremely upsetting. Our office has been briefed on the latest developments over the last 24 hours and is in regular communication with the Pentagon and Fort Hood. We will continue working to help the Guillén family get the answers they deserve.”
Vanessa’s sister Mayra hopes Congressional and military leaders will eventually provide clarity and accountability.
“I just truly hope they get Vanessa she deserves because she didn’t deserve this. None of it,” said Mayra Guillen.
As for the congressional hearing and potential legislation coming from this case, there are no dates set for Congress to take up this specific issue.