Fort Hood will rename a gate near the east entrance of the army base in honor of Specialist Vanessa Guillén. There will also be a small memorial for Guillén that will be accessible to the public from an off-post parking area.
Guillén was a soldier murdered on base at age 20. She was reported missing from the base on April 22 and her body was found two months later, buried more than 20 miles away, under concrete along Leon River in Bell County.
“Ownership is the first way to cure something,” said Natalie Khawam, the Guillén family attorney during a Tuesday evening news conference. “They could have said we don’t want to be known for this bloodstain, but rather it’s the opposite. They put it visibly right in front of the gate of the base, so every day they have to remember Vanessa. They have to remember what happened here, so it never happens again.”
A criminal complaint says Guillén was killed by another soldier with the help of his girlfriend.
At a news conference yesterday, her family gave the army base credit for efforts to pay tribute to Vanessa and a change in the culture at the post.
“This memorial that’s going to be done in order to honor Vanessa means a lot to us,” said Vanessa’s sister, Mayram Guillen. “It means that they listened. This new command did listen to us.”
Vanessa’s accused murderer, Specialist Aaron David Robinson, shot and killed himself as police closed in on him in Killeen, TX on July 1, one day after Guillén’s body was found.
His alleged accomplice, Cecily Aguilar, a 22-year old estranged wife of a Fort Hood solider, has been charged with conspiracy to tamper with evidence. Her trial is set for January.
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