Vanessa Guillen family speaks out after death of Fort Hood soldier Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz
AUSTIN, Texas - Three years after the murder of Spc. Vanessa Guillen, her sisters are still asking for justice.
Mayra Guillen came to the Texas Capitol to testify in support of House Bill 2248.
"So I came to testify, and apparently many more people came to testify. Veterans organizations. A number of people. So it was a great outcome. And the bill got passed," says Mayra Guillen, Vanessa Guillen's sister.
Mayra Guillen says they were making progress with Fort Hood in the past couple of years. But just last week, Fort Hood officials said another Latina solider was found dead on post.
"It's a shame that the little bit of trust that we were building within, you know, with the military, with working together with them to get legislation passed was already broken once again," says Guillen.
Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz also complained to her parents about sexual harassment from her superiors.
"It's very triggering. I mean, it reminds me of my sister's case. And until they come out with the official investigations as to if it was sexual harassment or sexual assault, then we won't know any more details until Fort Hood provides them," says Guillen.
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Fort Hood officials said in a statement there was no foul play in the death of Basaldua Ruiz. They also acknowledged the sexual harassment allegations and will look into it during the investigation.
"The fact that the commander came out and spoke and, you know, gave importance to the issue is also good. I just hope that they completely do everything right the whole way, not just in the beginning to calm everybody down and be like, okay, we're looking into it," says Guillen.
After the death of Vanessa Guillen, the soldier made an impact on Fort Hood. Other service members also shared their sexual trauma on social media using the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen.
"I hope that they see this in a way that it's okay to speak up, not to wait till it's too late, because unfortunately, suicide rates are very high and people don't pay attention on this unless it's murder," says Guillen.
Basaldua Ruiz's family is starting a GoFundMe page to raise funds to pay for travel expenses and to also do a second autopsy.
If you or someone you know is in distress, there's always help available. Just call 9-8-8, the suicide and crisis lifeline. Help is available 24/7.