A suspect in the case of a soldier who went missing from her base in Texas has died by suicide, the day after unidentified remains were discovered by investigators.
Vanessa Guillen went missing on 20 April from a car park at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, and investigators had identified two suspects, one a civilian and one a soldier.
The Fort Hood Criminal Investigation Department (CID) announced on Wednesday that the soldier suspected of being involved in Ms Guillen’s disappearance had died by suicide, as investigators closed in on tracking him down.
The soldier was not publicly identified immediately as authorities were still trying to notify his family, but investigators confirmed he was a superior officer who allegedly walked in on Ms Guillen showering, sat down and watched, according to ABC News.
Investigators also announced that they have arrested the civilian suspect, and confirmed she had a connection to Ms Guillen.
In a statement, the CID said: “The civilian suspect is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier and is currently in custody in the Bell County Jail awaiting charges by civilian authorities.”
At a press conference on Wednesday, Ms Guillen’s sister, Mayra Guillen, told reporters that she met the soldier who died by suicide when she visited the base earlier in the investigation.
“That subject, I met him, not knowing he had something to do with it. I felt he had something to do with it, and I wasn’t wrong,” she said.
Ms Guillen’s family believe that her disappearance was connected to her claims of sexual harassment that she told colleagues about, but had not made a formal complaint about.
In an earlier statement, military officials said that they had no credible evidence of sexual harassment taking place, according to CBS.
However, her younger sister, Lupe Guillen, told reporters that “there are so many military people who are suffering with sexual harassment and they sweep it under the rug like it’s a joke. My sister is not a joke. My sister did not deserve this. My sister deserves justice.”
She added: “They lied to us for two months. My sister was sexually harassed they didn’t keep my sister safe. They try to cover up for each other. Why? If this can happen to my sister, it can happen to anyone.”
The news of the suspect’s death came a day after the CID revealed that unidentified remains had been found by investigators.
An attorney for Ms Guillen’s family told CBS that the remains could be of the solider, but that forensic experts needed to first analyse them.
Army spokesman Chris Grey said that “no confirmation as to the identity of the remains has been made at this point and we ask for the media and public’s understanding that the identification process can take time.”