Vanessa Guillen Was Bludgeoned to Death With a Hammer by Fellow Soldier, Lawyer Says

Allison Quinn
U.S. Army
U.S. Army

This story contains graphic details.

A lawyer representing the family of slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen has revealed disturbing new details about how the young Houston native is believed to have died after she vanished in late April.

Speaking on an episode of the “Crime Stories” podcast hosted by Nancy Grace that aired Thursday, Natalie Khawam said she and the Guillen family had just learned from Army investigators that the 20-year-old was brutally beaten after being called in to work at the Fort Hood armory on April 22. Army investigators discovered “partial human remains” earlier this week they believe belong to Guillen, though they have yet to be positively identified.

After reporting for work that day, Guillen is said to have encountered Aaron Robinson, a fellow soldier publicly identified by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division on Thursday as the suspect in Guillen’s disappearance. Robinson “displayed a weapon and took his own life” when authorities closed in on him Wednesday morning, the CID said.

According to Khawam, Robinson savagely attacked Guillen at the armory after she remarked on his relationship with the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier. When Guillen reminded him that the relationship was in violation of military rules, he allegedly picked up a hammer and began “bludgeoning her head over and over.”

“The whole place was filled with blood,” Khawam said.

Dead Suspect in Disappearance of Fort Hood Soldier Sexually Harassed Her: Lawyer

The suspect then allegedly took Guillen’s body to a river and enlisted the help of his girlfriend to dispose of the remains. “They go to the river, they first try to light her body on fire, they try to burn her body, they can’t burn her body, they’re having a hard time burning her body, so they decide to take the machete out and start dismembering her whole body,” Khawam said. After scattering her remains in a shallow grave, she said, they used quick-dry cement to try and cover it.

“Ironically, this all happened between midnight and four in the morning when they were burning her body and dismembering her body with a machete. That time was when Vanessa’s sister Mayra was arriving at the base. While she’s looking for her sister, they are dismembering her body,” Khawam said.

The CID has confirmed that “the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier” is also in custody in connection with the Guillen case but “because she is a civilian and in the custody of local authorities, Army CID will not be releasing any further information concerning her or her status at this time.”

The Bell County Sheriff’s Office identified the second suspect as Cecily Aguilar and said she is in custody and awaiting a court appearance in federal court on a charge of tampering/fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair a human corpse, a second-degree felony.

Khawam said Robinson managed to flee and shoot himself after authorities tried to hold him at the base in connection with coronavirus precautions rather than getting an arrest warrant.

Guillen reportedly confided in family members about experiencing sexual harassment by one of her superiors on the base prior to her disappearance, and Khawam said Robinson was one of the men accused of sexually harassing her. But at a Thursday press conference, Damon Phelps of the CID said Robinson was “not involved” in the sexual harassment inquiry and was in “no way” Guillen’s superior.

Guillen’s family is demanding a congressional investigation into the military’s handling of the case, claiming Army authorities have gone out of their way to protect soldiers in the course of the investigation.

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