Home Covid-19 Covid-19 News Attorney for family of missing soldier calls on Congress to launch investigation against Fort Hood, launches “I am Vanessa” campaign

Attorney for family of missing soldier calls on Congress to launch investigation against Fort Hood, launches “I am Vanessa” campaign

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As the months-long search continues for Private First Class Vanessa Guillen, the Fort Hood soldier who has been missing since April 22, the family’s legal professional has requested that U.S. Senator Ted Cruz open a congressional investigation into her disappearance.

Natalie Khawam informed Dateline that she spoke with Sen. Cruz staffers on Thursday to formally request a Senate inquiry after what she described as a “disconcerting” assembly on Tuesday with Fort Hood leaders.

Vanessa Guillen (United States Army)
Vanessa Guillen (United States Army)

The assembly, which additionally included the U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia García, was held with the hope of the Guillen family getting solutions to at the least some of their questions on their daughter’s disappearance.

But Khawam mentioned they didn’t obtain any info they have been promised.

“This is why we need a congressional investigation,” Khawam informed Dateline. “The base command did not provide us with the information they promised us. They were not transparent, or forthcoming. We got nothing.”

The U.S. Army, below criticism from the Guillen family, spoke out this week, according to NBC News, addressing questions concerning the investigation into Vanessa’s disappearance greater than two months earlier.

The Army included with its record of solutions to frequently asked questions concerning the case a message, saying: “We are very concerned for the welfare of PFC Vanessa Guillen and we fully understand the frustration felt by the family, friends and fellow Soldiers of Vanessa. We are doing everything in our power to get her back and will not stop until we do.”

Vanessa Guillen
Vanessa Guillen

Vanessa, a 20-year-old non-public first-class within the third Cavalry Regiment, was final seen April 22, in a Fort Hood parking zone. Her automobile and barracks room keys, identification card and pockets have been discovered within the armory room the place she was working the day she disappeared, Fort Hood officers mentioned.

According to Rep. García at a press conference held Tuesday in Fort Hood, the Army is now satisfied there was “foul play” concerned in Vanessa’s disappearance.

“They have now used the words foul play. They are convinced now that there is foul play involved and they are following all the leads they can,” the congresswoman mentioned on the press convention that was reside streamed on social media.

Vanessa’s sister, Mayra, told Dateline that Vanessa had beforehand expressed to their mom, Gloria Guillen, that she felt unsafe at Fort Hood and {that a} sergeant had been sexually harassing her. Mayra mentioned Vanessa by no means recognized that person and by no means reported any incidents to the Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.

The Army mentioned that its prison investigation unit has “no credible information or reports that Vanessa was sexually assaulted.”

“Additionally, we are not aware of any report of sexual harassment from Pfc. Guillen or any other Soldier on her behalf. However, we are looking at all possibilities and have not ruled anything in or out. Fort Hood has opened an investigation into reports of sexual harassment that the Guillen family has reported,” the Army wrote.

A spokesman for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) insisted to Dateline’s “Missing in America” that the company is investigating all leads.

“We are completely committed to finding Vanessa and aggressively going after every single piece of credible information and every lead in this investigation,” Army CID Chief of Public Affairs spokesman Chris Grey mentioned. “We will not stop until we find Vanessa.”

Khawam informed Dateline that whereas the army supplied some solutions to their questions on the assembly Tuesday, she mentioned that one of the important thing items of info they didn’t get was an in depth timeline of what Vanessa did the day she disappeared.

Khawam added that she hopes a congressional inquiry will uncover what the family believes is a army cover-up.

“The goal is to find out what really happened to Vanessa,” Khawam mentioned. “Something is happening at that base and people — especially women — are too scared to talk about it.”

She defined that the family doesn’t consider that army leaders are telling them the reality. The family mentioned they discovered about Vanessa’s disappearance after her boyfriend and one of her sisters had been unable to attain her.

Military leaders informed the family they didn’t know Vanessa was missing till 8 p.m. on April 22.

“It doesn’t make sense,” Khawam mentioned. “Where was she during the check-ins earlier in the day. How is it that she wasn’t reported as absent if she missed those check-ins?”

According to Khawam, army officers mentioned that every one troopers have been accounted for that day through the afternoon check-ins.

“How do you check somebody in who’s not there? They lied,” Khawam mentioned. She added that officers mentioned it on the Tuesday assembly and characterised it as “a mistake.”

Khawam, who is predicated in Florida, will stay in Washington, D.C. to do “whatever it takes” for a congressional investigation to be launched.

She additionally met with LULAC, the oldest Latino civil rights group within the U.S., and collectively they’ve launched the “I am Vanessa” campaign following an outpouring from women who’ve come ahead on social media with their very own experiences with sexual harassment within the army. The hashtag #IamVanessaGuillen has been trending on social media.

“Vanessa’s story is very dear to me and I’ll do whatever I can to help the Guillen family,” Khawam mentioned. She added that she feels related to the family, as a result of her personal mother and father are immigrants. “There’s a language barrier with Vanessa’s mother, but that doesn’t mean she can’t get the same fight for her daughter. The same justice. They need to be heard and I’m going to keep pushing until I find answers.”

Vanessa’s disappearance has drawn native protests, whereas celebrities resembling Salma Hayek and Houston rapper Baby Bash, have joined within the effort to draw attention to her case.

Khawam informed Dateline {that a} protest and nationwide press convention is scheduled to be held in entrance of the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, July 2.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Khawam mentioned. “I believe this is going to be the start of a movement. These women — these soldiers — they are the ones who keep us safe. They are our national security. We should be doing everything we can to keep them safe. And to make sure that if they don’t feel safe, they can go to someone without repercussion.”

Anyone who desires to share their story can use the hashtag #IamVanessaGuillen on Twitter, or contact Khawam at [email protected].

A reward of up to $50,000 is now being provided for credible info main to the whereabouts of Vanessa Guillen.

Vanessa is 5 ft, two inches tall, 126 kilos, with black hair and brown eyes. She has the tattoo of a cross with a flower on her left arm, one other flower additionally on the left arm, and a mountain with a circle on her higher left shoulder. She has a small mole between her decrease mouth, and her chin. Vanessa was final seen carrying a black t-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.

Anyone with details about her whereabouts is urged to contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170. They can even anonymously submit info at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html.

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