A timeline of the search for Vanessa Guillen
Fort Hood closes and alters operating hours at select access control points because of COVID-19.
Pfc. Vanessa Guillen sends her last text message to Spc. Aaron David Robinson. Guillen is last seen at in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters on Fort Hood.
April 22: 9 p.m.
Guillen’s family drive to Fort Hood to tell officials she had not responded to text messages or phone calls from her boyfriend, sisters or mother throughout the day.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division is notified Guillen is missing. A witness says that before her disappearance, she left the arms room where she was working to go to an arms room controlled by Robinson to confirm serial numbers for weapons and equipment.
The Belton Police Department, the Belton Fire Department and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers search an area along the Leon River and FM 317 after Fort Hood requests their help. Fort Hood investigators told them that a phone possibly belonging to Guillen was pinged in the area.
Fort Hood Military Police issue a “Be on the Lookout” (BOLO) for Guillen to surrounding law enforcement. They say Guillen’s car keys, barracks room key, identification card and wallet were found in the armory room where she had been working.
Find Vanessa Guillen page was created on Facebook.
The U.S. Army CID offers an award of up to $15,000 for information leading to the whereabouts of Guillen.
The U.S. Army CID interviews Robinson. He tells them that after he finished his work on April 22, he went to his off-post residence that he shared with his girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, and did not leave the rest of the night, except around 6:30 p.m. when he had to come on post to sign on to a government computer to enroll in training.
Secretary of the Army Ryan D. McCarthy starts a press conference about the Army’s response to COVID-19 by mentioning Guillen. “I’d like to start out this morning by talking about a missing soldier, Private First Class Vanessa Guillen, in hopes of increasing the public’s awareness and assistance in finding her. Private First Class Guillen went missing on 22 April from Ford Hood, Texas. In concert with local law enforcement efforts, the Army will continue aggressively searching for her. Our hearts go out to her family, and we will not stop looking for her until we find her.”
While investigating Guillen’s disappearance, the U.S. Army CID uncovers a statement that could be considered potential sexual harassment. After subsequent investigation, another allegation of verbal harassment involving the same individual was discovered. They do not tell the public about the existence of this statement, what the statement is or who made the statement.
Mayra Guillen, Vanessa Guillen’s older sister who lives in Houston, says she and her family have yet to receive any information regarding the disappearance. Mayra Guillen says because she and her family are not allowed on base to search, all they can do is hand out flyers in the surrounding community and wait for answers.
Investigators interview two witnesses who say that on April 22, they saw Robinson pulling a large “tough box,” with wheels, that appeared very heavy in weight, out the arms room where he worked. The two witnesses said they observed Robinson load the “tough box” into his vehicle and drive away.
Robinson consents to a search of his cell phone, which shows he made multiple calls to Aguilar the night of April 22 and as early as 3:05 a.m. April 23.
Fort Hood Public Affairs Director Tom E. Rheinlander says they continue to investigate Guillen’s disappearance. “At one point, more than 500 soldiers from the 3rd Cavalry Division searched daily on foot in training areas, barracks and across the post,” he said. He said additional targeted searches with smaller groups of soldiers continued, and aircraft from the 1st Cavalry Division provided more than 100 hours of flight time to the search on and off the installation.
Someone starts a petition for the White House to hold the Army accountable for Guillen’s disappearance and the subsequent investigation. It has 180,241 signatures as of Wednesday, July 8, surpassing the amount required for the White House to respond within 30 days.
The Guillen family holds a press conference. They say Guillen told them prior to her disappearance that she had been sexually harrassed at Fort Hood and did not feel she could report it. They call on the Army to be more transparent about its search for her. “I haven’t seen anything that proves to me that they are actually searching,” Mayra Guillen says.
The Guillen family protests outside of Fort Hood, demanding answers about the soldier’s disappearance.
U.S. Army investigators increase the reward for information leading to the whereabouts of Guillen to $25,000.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division says it has now interviewed more than 150 people and that it has no credible information or reports that Guillen was sexually assaulted.
3rd Cavalry Regiment Troopers search from the training area near their regiment area of operations.The soldiers from Aries Troop, Pioneer Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, are joined by soldiers from the 74th Multi-Bridge Reconnaissance Company, 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade. Fort Hood officials say that there were previous searches of 3rd Cavalry Regiment buildings, barracks, fields, training areas, lakes, and trails at Fort Hood.
Authorities find skeletal remains in a field in Killeen, Texas. Guillen family says it’s not Pfc. Vanessa Guillen. Authorities later confirm they are the remains of Pvt. Gregory Morales, who was last seen in August 2019. Investigators say nothing indicates that the Morales and Guillen cases are related.
The U.S. Army CID, the Bell County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers search the Leon River at Belton after location data from Robinson’s phone indicated it was near the intersection of Farm-to-Market Road 436 and West Main Street in Belton, specifically, on or around a bridge at 1:59 a.m. April 23, before going north and remaining in the area for about two hours. They find the burned remains of what appears to be the same “tough box” witnesses described Robinson leaving Fort Hood with on April 22. They also smell something decomposing, but they do not find any human remains.
The 3rd Cavalry Regiment Division, Col. Ralph Overland, appoints a team to investigate allegations that Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed.
Someone building a fence on a property near the intersection of FM 436 and Hartrick Bluff Spur calls the Bell County Sheriff’s Office after they discover what they believe to be human remains. The Bell County Sheriff’s Office sends two detectives who concur they look to be human remains. The detectives call Fort Hood, the Army CID, the Texas Rangers and the FBI and stay with the remains until a mortician transports them to a medical examiner, Major T.J. Cruz, of the Belton County Sheriff’s Office, told USA TODAY.
Aguilar tells investigators that Robinson told her on April 22 that he struck Guillen with a hammer in the arms room at Fort Hood, killing her. Aguilar tells investigators that Robinson took Guillen’s body off the post, picked Aguilar up from her work at a gas station and then showed the body to her. Aguilar said they then tried to dispose of the body in multiple ways over multiple days and burned their clothes at their residence.
The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force tries to find Robinson, who they say has absconded from Fort Hood. They do not share his name or the fact that they are looking for him with the public.
Investigators listen in when Aguilar calls Robinson. During the call, Robinson does not deny his involvement in the disappearance and death of Guillen. Robinson texts Aguilar pictures of news articles about human remains being found. He also says during the call, “baby, they found the pieces, they found the pieces.”
July 1: 12;29 a.m.
Robinson fatally shoots himself when confronted by law enforcement in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue in Killeen.
Aguilar is arrested.
Damon Phelps, a special agent with the U.S. Army CID, says Robinson was not involved in the statement that is potentially sexual harassment that Army discovered on May 7. Phelps said the Army also hasn’t found evidence that a noncommissioned officer walked in on Guillen in a locker room while she was showering.
The remains found June 30 are identified as Guillen.
Attorney Natalie Khawam, who represents the Guillen family, proposes a bill named #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN, which would help protect military victims of sexual harassment and assault. Khawam, who has worked on similar legislation in the past, will introduce a draft of the bill on July 30 in Washington, D.C.
SOURCE Mapcreator.io, fthoodhousing.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How it took investigators 10 weeks to find Vanessa Guillen’s body.