Army launches sexual harassment investigation amid search for missing soldier Vanessa Guillen

BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Friday, June 19, 2020
Family of missing soldier said she complained of sexual harassment
Family of Vanessa Guillen said she confided in them about two sexual harassment incidents before she went missing. Here's what they said happened.

KILLEEN, Texas -- The U.S. Army is disputing claims that the body of missing soldier Vanessa Guillen was found.

On Thursday, a social media post began circulating stating that Guillen's body had been found on the base in Fort Hood.

Special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command said they have no credible information that any of the social media posts were true.

Agents also said they were reaching out to the person who originally posted the information out of an abundance of caution.

Vanessa grew up in southeast Houston, she graduated from Cesar Chavez High School, played soccer, and loves the Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny.

Authorities said Vanessa's car, wallet, and keys were found on base, but her cell phone has not been recovered.

Attorney Natalie Khawam said she's discovered at least two alleged incidents of sexual harassment -- a superior walking in on Vanessa showering and another verbally assaulting Vanessa with vulgar remarks in Spanish. Khawam said she's worried about how this case might turn out. She said Vanessa told loved ones she didn't want to report the sexual harassment out of fear of retaliation.

"The facts aren't good. I don't like them," said Khawam. "There were a few incidents where she had told her colleagues, her friends, her family about being sexually harassed but she was afraid to report it. How does someone disappear on a base that has more protection and safeguards than anyone else on the planet?"

On Thursday, the Army's Criminal Investigation Command said it's launching an investigation into allegations that Guillen was sexually harassed.

"I opened an investigation concerning the information provided by the Guillen Family that Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was harassed prior to her disappearance," said Commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Col. Ralph Overland. "I take allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and we are conducting a thorough investigation."