KILLEEN, Texas - The attorney for the family of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, Natalie Khawam, and U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia both stated at a news conference that Army investigators are using the words "foul play" as they continue to search for Guillen.
Khawam, members of Guillen's family and U.S. Rep. Garcia held the news conference after a meeting with Ft. Hood officials to discuss the latest findings in the search for Guillen and what the family intends to do moving forward.
Guillen's mother spoke at length during the news conference in Spanish and, according to translation from FOX 7 Austin's Leslie Rangel, spoke about Vanessa wanting to be in the Army since she was little and that she joined for her country and to protect others.
Guillen's mother said she asked officials from the beginning to close Ft. Hood and to have soldiers search for Vanessa. She made a plea for the person who did it to be caught and both she and other members of Guillen's family say they don't believe that Vanessa is dead.
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20-year-old Guillen was last seen April 22 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood, Texas and has not been heard from since.
Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card, and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day. She was last seen in the parking lot wearing a black t-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.
The 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, Col. Ralph Overland, recently appointed an investigating team led by a senior investigating officer (IO) to conduct a commander’s investigation, referred to as an “AR 15-6 Investigation” into allegations that Guillen was sexually harassed.
Ft. Hood officials said in a Facebook post that U.S. Army troopers with the 3rd Calvary Regiment searched for Guillen June 17-18 in the training area near the regiment area of operations and then expanded the search north, on the east side of the training area.
Troopers searched buildings, barracks, fields, training areas, lakes, and trails.
Officials say Guillen is originally from Houston and an avid runner. She's described as being of Hispanic descent, five feet, two inches tall, 126 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Her Military Occupational Specialty is a 91F, Small Arms/Artillery Repairer.
A reward has also been doubled for help finding Guillen. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) recently announced that they have agreed to match the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's $25,000 reward. The combined reward is now $50,000.
This all comes just days after the remains of another Fort Hood soldier, Gregory Wedel-Morales, who had been missing since August 2019 were found. The U.S. Army CID was offering a reward for information to find Wedel-Morales and had stated that investigators currently have no reason to believe Wedel-Morales and Guillen's cases are related.
However, the family of Guillen pointed to CID's handling of the investigation into the disappearance of Wedel-Morales as a reason why they believe the FBI and not Army CID should take the lead in investigating Guillen's disappearance.