Officials at the Fort Hood military base in Texas are investigating the disappearance of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, a soldier who went missing from the base on April 22 of this year. Guillen was last seen in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters at Fort Hood. This week, the investigation has taken a turn for the worse, with military officials at the base suggesting that "foul play" could be a factor in the 20-year-old soldier's disappearance.
Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia gave a press conference on Tuesday revealing the newest information.
"They now have used the words foul play. They are convinced now there's foul play involved and they are following all the leads that they can," Garcia told reporters, according to ABC News.
Mayra Guillen, Vanessa's older sister, says that this investigation started way too late.
"I still don't understand why it had to take a little more than six weeks for them to start taking action because we started since day one," she said.
Vanessa's mother, Gloria Guillen, called for the base to be shut down if her daughter turns up dead.
"If my daughter appears dead, close this base immediately. I want her alive, for the love of God. I need my daughter with me. She is my life. That's why I'm fighting until they bring her back and the people who are responsible pay," she said.
"Investigate from the top to the bottom, everyone is responsible," she added.
However, Chris Grey, Chief of Public Affairs, USA Criminal Investigation Command, insisted that they started their investigation right away, but said that new evidence has come to light in the past few days that points to foul play. Although, that information has not been made available to the public yet.
Officials are now offering a $50,000 reward for information on her whereabouts.
Anyone with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-495-7767 or the Military Police Desk at 254-287-4001.
Oddly enough, this is not the first soldier to recently go missing from Fort Hood. Just last week, skeletal remains of Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales were found in a field in Killeen, Texas, after U.S. Army investigators received a tip directing them to the location of the body.
Wedel-Morales had been missing since Aug. 20, 2019, a day after he was seen driving off the Fort Hood base. He was also scheduled to be discharged from the Army within days of his disappearance, according to Army officials.
The main cantonment area of Fort Hood had a total population of 53,416 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Fort Hood is the most populous U.S. military installation in the world. Named after Confederate General John Bell Hood, it is located halfway between Austin and Waco, about 60 miles (or 97 km) from each city. The post is the headquarters of III Corps and First Army Division West and is home to the 1st Cavalry Division and 3rd Cavalry Regiment, among others. Fort Hood is one of ten Army bases in the United States that are named after former Confederate generals.