Fort Hood senior leader, CID discuss investigation
Fort Hood’s Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt said at a press conference in the III Corps Headquarters, July 2, that while the last 72 hours have produced significant information, including the discovery of remains near the Leon River in Bell County, positive identification has not been made in the active investigation of the disappearance of Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
“When we have a DNA analysis, we will share it,” the general said.
Guillen, classified as missing, met time-in-service and time-in-grade requirements to be promoted to the rank of specialist. That promotion was made official Wednesday.
On the morning of April 22, Guillen was working in her unit’s arms room and was last seen at approximately 11:30 a.m. in the parking lot of the Regimental Engineer Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment. After her unit could not find her that same day, they conducted a search and discovered her car keys, barracks room key and identification card in the unit arms room.
“On that day, her unit, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, initiated a search for Vanessa and since that day, has maintained communication with the family,” Efflandt said. “The day following, the 23rd of April, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, referred to as CID, initiated an investigation in conjunction with national, state and local law enforcement agencies.”
As Guillen’s disappearance remains an active investigation, CID officials could not reveal any details that could compromise the ongoing investigation and possible subsequent prosecution.
“Our investigation has identified two suspects in the connection with Spc. Guillen’s disappearance,” Special Agent Damon Phelps, senior special agent of Fort Hood CID, revealed. “We are aware that there have been statements made that there are others, but at this point, that is incorrect. We have identified two suspects.”
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question: When was the first report of Vanessa Guillén missing?
Answer: Vanessa Guillen went missing on April 22, 2020. She was last seen was last seen at approximately 11:30 a.m. that day, April 22, in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, on Fort Hood, Texas. Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card were later found in the arms room. She was last seen in the parking lot wearing a black t-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.
A search started following her disappearance and continues by military and civilian law enforcement, as well as Fort Hood military members.
Persons with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170. They can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html. (People wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable.)
Question: Is there a reward being offered by the Army for information about Vanessa Guillén’s possible location?
Answer: The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for credible information leading to the whereabouts of missing Fort Hood Soldier Vanessa Guillén. Army CID and Fort Hood continue to seek the public’s help for information. Persons with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170. They can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html. (People wishing to remain anonymous will be honored to the degree allowable under the law and the information will be held in the strictest confidence allowable.)
Question: Is the Army investigating the possibility that Vanessa Guillén may be the victim of sexual harassment?
Answer: The 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood appointed an investigating team led by a senior Investigating Officer (IO) to conduct a commander’s investigation, referred to as an “Army Regulation 15-6 Investigation” into allegations that Vanessa Guillén was sexually harassed. An Army Regulation 15-6 investigation is the Army’s standard method of investigation and is used to collect and analyze facts and make recommendations based on those facts. The IO will gather the evidence, thoroughly and impartially consider it, and make findings and recommendations. Once the investigation is complete, the IO will present the findings and recommendations to the unit’s command for his review. Fort Hood units continue to aggressively search for Vanessa Guillén.
Question: Have Fort Hood officials spoken with the family and members of Congress about this ongoing case?
Answer: Fort Hood leadership updated Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia, Congressional staff members from Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman John Carter, Congressman Roger Williams, and members of Vanessa Guillén’s family June 23 to discuss details of the ongoing investigation of Pfc. Guillén’s disappearance. The in-person visit follows multiple in-person and virtual meetings between Garcia, the Guillén family, and unit leadership. During the visit, Col. Ralph Overland, 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command agents updated Garcia and the Guillén Family on the most recent searches and status of the investigation; and also showed them Vanessa’s work area and the parking lot where she was last seen.
“We appreciate the opportunity to provide the Guillén family, Congresswoman Garcia, and other congressional delegates a comprehensive update,” Overland said. “They are Vanessa’s family, and Vanessa is part of our family. We all have the same goal—to find Vanessa and bring her home. The Regiment is fully committed to this and we will not stop until we find her.”
Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia
“I want to thank Fort Hood for welcoming me and the Guillén family today,” said Representative Sylvia Garcia. “I still have many questions after my visit, but I appreciate their commitment to finding Vanessa and willingness to continue working with us until Vanessa is found.”
Other Congressional members provided the following statements on their impressions of the meeting:
Senator Ted Cruz
“I want to thank Fort Hood leadership for briefing my staff on the investigation into Pfc. Vanessa Guillén’s disappearance,” said Senator Ted Cruz. “I hope we will have answers about what happened soon, and we will continue to provide any assistance we can.
Congressman John Carter
“The disappearance of Pfc. Vanessa Guillén is a heartbreaking situation, and our community is praying for her safe return,” said Representative John Carter. “I appreciate Ft. Hood for their ongoing efforts to keep me and my team updated on the extensive search for Pfc. Guillén. I will continue working with Representative Garcia and Fort Hood to ensure that every effort persists to find Vanessa and bring her home.”
Congressman Roger Williams
“I want to thank Col. Ralph Overland and the Army Criminal Investigation Division agents for briefing us on the latest developments and efforts in the search for Pfc. Vanessa Guillén, said Representative Roger Williams. “I continue to closely monitor the situation and communicate with Fort Hood leadership as the investigation into her disappearance continues. My prayers are with the Guillén family and all of those working around the clock to bring one of our nation’s heroes home.”
Question: Is this case connected to the disappearance of PV2 Morales from Fort Hood?
Answer: We have no credible information or evidence the investigation into the disappearance of PFC Guillén is in any way connected to the investigation into the death of PV2 Gregory Wedel-Morales, who was last seen on the night of Aug. 19, 2019, while driving his car in Killeen, Texas. His remains were recovered in Killeen on 19 June 2020.