The family of Vanessa Guillen will meet with President Trump in Washington DC on July 29 – one day before a bill bearing the murdered soldier’s name will be introduced to Congress.
Guillen, 20, disappeared in April after she told her family that she had been sexually harassed while at Fort Hood, Texas. Her burned remains were found in nearby Belton on June 30 and officially identified on July 6.
Her family is planning to introduce the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill to Congress to create an independent avenue for members of the military to report instances of sexual harassment and assault.
The announcement of the Guillen family’s meeting with Trump was made by the family’s attorney, Natalie Khawam, outside the McLennan County Federal Court in Texas on Tuesday.
Khawam spoke ahead of a court hearing for suspect Cecily Aguilar, who is accused of helping Army specialist Aaron Robinson dismember and bury Guillen’s body.
Aguilar issued a plea of not guilty to three counts of evidence tampering and was denied bail by a judge during the hearing. Robinson, meanwhile, committed suicide on July 1 as investigators closed in on him.
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The family of Vanessa Guillen (seen above) will meet with President Trump in Washington DC on July 29 – one day before a bill baring murdered soldier’s name will be introduced to Congress.
Dozens of protesters demanding justice for Guillen had gathered outside the courthouse as Khawam announced the news of the meeting. Khawam was accompanied by one of Guillen’s sisters (seen left)
The announcement was made ahead of a hearing for Cecily Aguilar (left), who is accused of helping Army specialist Aaron Robinson (right) dismember and bury Guillen’s body.
Dozens of protesters demanding justice for Guillen had gathered outside the courthouse Tuesday afternoon. Members of Guillen’s family, including her father and a sister, were also in attendance.
News of the DC meeting comes just days after President Trump sounded off about Guillen’s murder, calling it ‘horrible. Absolutely horrible,’ to Telemundo.
During her Tuesday court appearance, Aguilar pleaded not guilty to the three counts of conspiracy to tamper with evidence that she faces in relation to the death of Guillen. She was denied bail by the judge.
US Attorney Mark Frazier described how Aguilar had deleted her Google account before her arrest and even called an unnamed third party while she was in jail, asking them to delete her Facebook page.
In a separate phone call, Aguilar is said to have expressed a desire to leave the county with a pre-paid $5,000 credit card, Frazier told the judge.
‘She’s a terrorist, she’s a murderer, she’s a sicko. You know?,’ Khawam said of Aguilar outside the court. ‘She’s a danger to society She killed a U.S. soldier in vain.’
During Tuesday’s hearing, Aguilar pleaded not guilty to the three counts of conspiracy to tamper with evidence that she faces in relation to the death of Guillen. She was denied bail by the judge
Vanessa Guillen’s mother, Gloria (pictured), has previously slammed Fort Hood officials as being ‘clowns in a circus’ who lied to her. She has demanded Congress investigate the base
Guillen, 20, disappeared in April after she told her family that she had been sexually harassed while at Fort Hood, Texas. Her burned remains were found in Belton, Texas, on June 30 and officially identified on July 6
Aguilar was arrested on July 1, the same day that Guillen’s believed murderer Aaron Robinson, 20, killed himself as investigators closed in on him. According to reports, Aguilar was either Robinson’s estranged wife or girlfriend.
Aguilar told reportedly investigators that Robinson claimed to have used a hammer to beat to death Guillen in a Fort Hood arms room, then stuffed her body into a box to carry off post.
She allegedly said that Robinson picked her up from job at a gas station on either April 22 or April 23. He then allegedly took her to a site near Leon River, showed Guillen’s body to her, and together they tried to dispose of the body using multiple different methods over the course of several days.
Such methods of disposal were said to include mutilating and attempting to burn Guillen’s body, a police affidavit details.
When the body didn’t completely burn, Aguilar allegedly said that they buried the remains in three different holes.
Authorities then asked Aguilar to call Robinson. During the call, which investigators were listening in on, Robinson did not deny what they had supposedly done to Guillen and also was heard saying, ‘Baby, they found the pieces. They found pieces.’
Before she died, Guillen’s relatives said that she had told them she was being sexually harassed and was too afraid to come forward about it.
An Army official told ABC News that during the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command’s investigation into her disappearance, they found information suggesting that she may have experienced harassment at the base.
The harassment, however, did not appear to be sexual, although investigators said that found that some of the comments made about Guillen were sexual in nature.
Army investigators also found that neither the harassment nor the comments stemmed from Robinson.
The Army said that Guillen and Robinson were not in the same command and did not work in the same building.
Army investigators also said that they didn’t find any evidence of a relationship between Guillen and Robinson, other than a professional one, after checking phone records and text messages.
Aguilar was arrested on July 1, the same day that Guillen’s believed murderer Aaron Robinson, 20, killed himself as investigators closed in on him. According to reports, Aguilar was either Robinson’s estranged wife or girlfriend
Protesters gather at a march and vigil for murdered Army Spec. Vanessa Guillen on July 12, 2020
The #IAmVanessaGuillen bill, which, when passed, will create an Independent avenue for members of the military to report instances of sexual harassment and assault
In an interview with ABC last week, Guillen’s mother, Gloria, slammed Fort Hood officials for lying to her, calling them ‘clowns in a circus’.
She told the station that she wants Congress to investigate Fort Hood’s handling of her daughter’s disappearance.
Vanessa’s sisters, Mayra and Lupe, also spoke out about their sister’s murder.
‘She was taken away from me in the most horrible way, yet they take it as if it was a joke,’ Lupe told ABC 11.
‘My sister is no joke. My sister’s a human being just like me, her, all of us.’
Mayra told the station that she will continue to speak out about her sister’s murder ‘because we cannot let this happen again’.
‘My sister was taken away. She could have been your sister, your friend,’ Mayra added.
On Friday, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said the Army would be conducting an independent investigation of Fort Hood, ‘the command culture and climate’, and the circumstances surrounding Guillen’s death.
The news was first announced during a press conference with representatives from the League of United Latin American Citizens and Rep. Sylvia Garcia.
On Friday, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy said the Army would be conducting an independent investigation of Fort Hood, ‘the command culture and climate’, and the circumstances surrounding Guillen’s death. The news was first announced during a press conference Rep. Sylvia Garcia (above)
Vanessa’s sisters, Mayra and Lupe (above), have also spoken out about their sister’s murder, accusing Fort Hood of treating her death as a ‘joke’
Khawam, however, says the Army’s independent investigation is not enough.
‘That’s not congressional investigation, that’s not going to get everybody exposed, every piece of that base looked into because at the end of the day you never know who on that panel the relationship they have, what involvement they have,’ she said.
The attorney is also conducting her own independent investigation as the push for a congressional probe continues.
‘She will not be buried. They’re trying to bury the story but she will not be buried. We will keep her alive through a bill that fixes this,’ Khawam vowed. ‘We’re going to keep her alive with the whole country saying never forget.
‘This is why we’re going to do this…so we never forget this happened. The only way to never forget something is to fix it and get that reform in there so our military and soldiers never fear that this happens to them.’
Robinson fatally shot himself on July 1 while police were trying to take him into custody.
Aguilar could face 20 years in jail and a $250,000 fine if convicted of her charge. The judge did not set a date for her next court appearance.