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Murdered soldier Vanessa Guillen WAS sexually harassed by one bullying supervisor and 'military missteps' allowed the man who killed her to flee, US Army investigation finds

 US Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed by a superior and her alleged killer was allowed to flee the Fort Hood base and evade arrest before he fatally shot himself, the military said in a report released on Friday.

The Army report said that the sexual harassment by the superior was unrelated to Guillen’s murder and that the suspected killer, Specialist Aaron Robinson, 20, had also been accused of harassing another female service member. 

Friday's report did not name the man accused of harassing Guillen, who is said to have asked her for a threesome, over 'privacy concerns' because of his low rank.


He was one of 21 people hit with disciplinary action over his behavior, but Army officials did not comment further on details of that punishment.  

Investigators believe Robinson bludgeoned Guillen to death with a hammer, removed her body from an armory at Fort Hood, and then dismembered her and buried her remains on April 22, 2020.

Guillen’s remains were found near the Leon River in Bell County, Texas on June 30.

According to the Army report released on Friday, Robinson was detained shortly after Guillen’s remains were found, but he was allowed to escape. A few hours later, he fatally shot himself as police were about to take him into custody.

US Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, disappeared from Fort Hood last April and her dismembered and buried remains were found on June 30 near the Leon River in Texas

US Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, disappeared from Fort Hood last April and her dismembered and buried remains were found on June 30 near the Leon River in Texas

Spc. Guillen, 20, (left) disappeared from the Killeen, Texas base in April and her dismembered and buried remains were found on June 30 near the Leon River
Officials said fellow soldier Aaron Robinson, 20, was the main suspect in her killing. He shot and killed himself as police honed in on him on July 1.

Spc. Guillen, 20, (left) disappeared from the Killeen, Texas base in April and her dismembered and buried remains were found on June 30 near the Leon River. Officials said fellow soldier Aaron Robinson, 20, (right) was the main suspect in her killing. He shot and killed himself as police honed in on him on July 1

Robinson’s former girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, has been charged with helping Robinson hide Guillen’s body and impeding the investigation.

The Army report details the final hours of Robinson’s life.


At around 5pm on June 30, just hours after workers found Guillen’s remains in a shallow grave, a member of the Army Criminal Investigation Command called Robinson’s unit and told them to put the specialist under strict observation.

Robinson was told he was being detained for violating COVID-19 quarantine rules. He was then placed inside a conference room where an unarmed soldier was guarding the door.

While Robinson was upset he was being detained, he nonetheless appeared relaxed. He spent his time in detention playing video games, according to the report.

Robinson was also allowed to keep his cell phone, which was being monitored by his superiors.

In December, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announcing the highly anticipated review results of a separate, civilian-run investigation into the overall culture at Fort Hood after at least 31 soldiers died there last year alone

In December, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy announcing the highly anticipated review results of a separate, civilian-run investigation into the overall culture at Fort Hood after at least 31 soldiers died there last year alone

Army Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, who was left in charge of the base when Guillen was killed, was fired following the review

Army Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, who was left in charge of the base when Guillen was killed, was fired following the review

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater, 1st Cavalry Division commanding general, was suspended following the review
Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny, 1st Cavalry Division command sergeant major was suspended

Suspended: Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater (left) and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny (right), both of the 1st Cavalry Division, were suspended following the review

Col. Ralph Overland, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, who was in charge of Guillen's unit, was fired following the independent review
Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment command sergeant major, who was in charge of Guillen's unit, was also fired

Fired: Col. Ralph Overland (left), the 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp (right), both of whom were in charge of Guillen's unit, were fired

The base commander, Army Lt. Gen. Pat White, will not face any administrative action because he was deployed to Iraq as the commander there for much of the year

The base commander, Army Lt. Gen. Pat White (above), will not face any administrative action because he was deployed to Iraq for much of the year

A few hours later, commanders got wind of new information suggesting that Robinson would try to escape, according to the report.

In a text chain, one officer said that if he tried to escape, the guards had to ‘tackle his a** and call the MPs [military police].’

But the soldier guarding Robinson did not get the message, according to the Army report.

Just after 10pm, Robinson received a telephone call that appeared to be from his mother.

‘Don’t believe what you hear about me,’ a guard heard Robinson say.

Several minutes later, Robinson escaped. A few hours later, he was spotted by Army and civilian police in the city of Killeen, just outside of Fort Hood.

As officers were closing in to make an arrest, Robinson pulled out a gun and shot himself dead.

Major General Gene LeBoeuf said that Robinson’s escape is still the subject of an ongoing investigation.

The report blamed a communication breakdown between the soldier’s unit and the criminal investigation agents which allowed him to flee.

Guillen’s killing shocked the military and forced the high command to re-examine the extent to which a culture of sexual harassment had taken root throughout the armed forces.


The latest findings were announced as part of an investigation into Guillen’s killing and the actions of officers immediately afterward.

Last year, a separate, civilian-run probe was launched examining the overall culture at Fort Hood.

As a result of the investigation, the Army fired or suspended 14 officers and enlisted soldiers at Fort Hood and ordered policy changes to address chronic failures of leadership that contributed to a widespread pattern of violence.

In a sweeping condemnation of Fort Hood’s command hierarchy, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy fired three top commanders and suspended two others pending a further investigation.

He also ordered a separate probe into staffing and procedures at the base’s Criminal Investigation Command unit, which is responsible for investigating crimes on Fort Hood.

Army Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, who was left in charge of the base earlier this year when Guillen was killed, was fired from his post. 

Army leaders had already delayed Efflandt's planned transfer to Fort Bliss, where he was supposed to take over leadership of the 1st Armored Division, due to the investigations into the base. 

The base commander, Army Lt. Gen. Pat White, will not face any administrative action because he was deployed to Iraq as the commander there for much of the year.  

The leadership of Guillen’s unit, Col. Ralph Overland and Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Knapp of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment were also fired.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Broadwater and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas C. Kenny, 1st Cavalry Division commanding general and command sergeant major, were both suspended. 

Their suspension is pending the outcome of a new Army Regulation (AR) 15-6 investigation of 1st Cavalry Division’s command climate and Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program. 

The names of the battalion level and below commanders and leaders who received administrative action were not released.  

McCarthy said the panel published nine main findings and 70 recommendations that the Army is accepting to correct the command culture at the base.  

The panel said they made an effort to talk to women in every division at the base, especially those in Guillen's unit. 

The panel conducted 647 individual interviews on the base. 

'Of the 503 women we interviewed [in the investigation], we discovered 93 credible accounts of sexual assault. Of those only 59 were reported,' Queta Rodriguez, a member of the independent review panel, said.

'And we also found 217 unreported accounts of sexual harassment. Of those only half were reported. What we discovered was over the course of those interviews, the lack of confidence in the system effected the reports of those incidents,' she added.

The independent review found that the Army’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program (SHARP) failed to curb sexual assault and harassment on bases due to structural failures.

Panelists said there was a lack of training, resourcing and staffing at the SHARP office on Fort Hood.

It also found that the command climate failed to practice the program’s core values below the brigade level, which led to less trust in the program. 

The actions come after a year that saw at least 31 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood die due to suicide, homicide or accidents, including the bludgeoning death of Guillen.

The Army on Friday announced that it had taken disciplinary action against 21 soldiers and officers who failed to act. Those soldiers have not been identified.

‘It was devastating to all of us,’ Major General LeBoeuf told The New York Times.

‘We as an Army failed to protect Vanessa Guillen.’ 

Of the 31 deaths at the base last year, while some were deemed accidents, five were homicides and 10 were suicides.

One of the most recent of tragedies to strike the base include the death of Sgt. Elder Fernandes, 23, who was found dead hanging from a tree on August 19. 

Also in August Pvt. Corlton L. Chee, 25, collapsed during fitness training at the base and died two days later and in November Spc. Cory Grafton, 20, was arrested after DNA testing linked him to the murder of a woman found dead in a hotel near the base last year. 

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