The mother of a Fort Hood soldier who disappeared almost two months ago emotionally demanded on Tuesday that military officials tell her what they know about her daughter’s disappearance.
Private First Class Vanessa Guillen disappeared from the Army post April 22 and family members, as well as U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, said at a virtual press conference that they have been frustrated with how little information the military is providing on its search and investigation.
“Two months have passed and we know nothing, nothing, nothing. What’s happened? What happened on that base? Why did my daughter disappear?,” Gloria Guillen, Vanessa’s mother said.
“I can’t bear anymore, not one day more because I’m not sleeping and I’m in bad health,” she said, adding that she wants someone from outside the base to investigate.
“Where is my daughter?” she implored.
Guillen’s disappearance has been gaining national attention, with actress Salma Hayek recently pledging to keep her picture on her social pages every day until she is found. Guillen, 20, who is Latina, was last seen at a Fort Hood parking lot. Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card and wallet were found in the armory room where she was working the day she disappeared, according to Fort Hood officials.
Friends, family and supporters, have been publicizing her disappearance.
They’ve used social media, as well as staged protests and held vigils, plastered billboards with her image, engaged politicians, created petitions to the White House, while raising questions about other cases of missing Fort Hood soldiers.
Domingo García, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, (LULAC) announced Tuesday that the national advocacy group was adding another $25,000 to the reward pot for information leading to Guillen’s whereabouts or that leads to the indictment of anyone involved in her disappearance. The military has already offered a $25,000 reward.
“This young lady put on the uniform to serve our country; the least we can do is find out where she is now and what we can do to help her,” Garcia said.
Military officials have stated their search on and off base continues with military and non-military authorities, and that many members of the military have called and met with the family since she was first reported missing, including her mother.
At least 500 soldiers initially were deployed daily to search for her and searches are now more targeted, using smaller groups of soldiers, according to a statement.
Rep. García said family members are going to try to meet with Col. Ralph Overland, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, this week. The congresswoman had hoped to go but is in self-quarantine; she was exposed to the virus via a family member who tested positive and is awaiting her own test results.
Col. Overland had said he was assembling a team of his own to begin a “more thorough investigation,” the congresswoman said. The colonel wants to hear of every allegation of sexual harassment or assault Vanessa Guillen made “so they can investigate every single one.”
Guillen had told her family that she felt unsafe at Fort Hood and that a sergeant had been sexually harassing her, but did not identify the person.
“That’s what’s concerning for us, we seem to have more questions than answers,” Rep. García said.
LULAC's García promised confidentiality and anonymity and urged people with such information to contact his law office at 214-941-8300 or Rep. Garcia's congressional office. Persons with information can contact Army CID Special Agents at 254-287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at 254-288-1170; they can also anonymously submit information at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html.
Fort Hood also announced Tuesday it was increasing to up to $25,000 a reward for information to the whereabouts of Private Second Class Gregory Morales who has been missing since Aug. 19 of last year.