May 16, 2021

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Vanessa Guillén murder: Fort Hood soldier’s killer escaped under guard’s watch, Army reveals


An investigation into the killing of Fort Hood servicewoman Vanessa Guillén said her suspected attacker was allowed to flee the US military facility in Texas before killing himself.

The 20-year-old’s body was found two months after she went missing from Fort Hood in April 2020, with an initial investigation indicating that serviceman Aaron Robinson was responsible for killing her with the assistance of girlfriend Cecily Aguilar.

Robinson was reportedly able to flee from Fort Hood despite being a suspect, according to a report into the killing.

It found that he was able to run away while under the watch of senior US military figures at the facility and was able to reach Ms Aguilar with a phone while in confinement.

Personnel reported that while in confinement, Robinson phoned his mother and said, “Don’t believe what you hear about me,” and whispered into the phone on another call.

Investigators were watching the pair’s communications in the days before Robinson ran away from the conference room where he was being kept.

As investigators closed in on Robinson, who became aware of reports of Specialist Guillén’s body being found on 30 June, the serviceman fled Fort Hood.

The service member watching Robinson at the time was not on a chain of texts to “tackle his ass and call the military police” if Robinson ran.

The report cited “poor communication” among the personnel keeping watch over Robinson.

Robinson fatally shot himself at the entrance to Fort Hood. It was not clear how he had got hold of the firearm.

The report included a number of other findings into the killing of Specialist Guillén, who reported two incidents of sexual harassment from senior US military figures at Fort Hood.

And although her family alleged that she feared sexual harassment at the facility, and was beaten by Robinson before her death, there was “no evidence that Spc Guillén was sexually assaulted”.

Nor was there evidence that Robinson harassed her, although he harassed other women at the facility.

Natalie Khawam, the Guillén family’s attorney, told ABC News. “We found many inconsistencies in this report. Vanessa’s case was severely mishandled, and therefore this report reflects a lot of damage control.”

US Army general Michael Garrett in a statement: “I directed this investigation to identify what happened and to find areas where we needed to improve across our command.

“We can and must hold ourselves accountable, learn and improve across all our Army units. To do any less breaks trust with our people and the American public.”

On Friday the Army said it had punished 21 officers and soldiers over their failure to act.

Ms Aguilar is charged with attempting to hide Specialist Guillén’s body and impeding the investigation.