Fort Hood honors Houstonian Vanessa Guillen on Veterans Day

On this Veterans Day, we remember Houston native, Vanessa Guillen, who was murdered earlier this year near Fort Hood. The army base is now honoring Guillen with a special memorial gate, dedicated to her legacy.

The family met with army officials on Tuesday to finalize design plans. 

"This memorial that’s going to be done in order to honor Vanessa means a lot to us. It means they listened – this new command – they did listen to us," said Mayra Guillen, Vanessa’s sister.  

The family of Vanessa Guillen expressed their gratitude that top leadership at Fort Hood heard their complaints and frustrations.

The army base plans on honoring the 21-year-old late-soldier’s legacy with a memorial gate leading to the 3rd Calvary Regiment area where Guillen served. 

"They didn’t try to sweep it under the rug. They put it visibily, right in front of the gate of the base. So every day they have to remember Vanessa. They have to remember what happened here," said the family's attorney, Natalie Khawam. 

Authorities say Guillen went missing in April. Her remains were later found near the Leon River. 
Khawam says Guillen was murdered, bludgeoned to death by her superior, Aaron Robinson, who killed himself in July as police attempted to arrest him. 

Her family said Guillen claimed Robinson had sexually assaulted her but army officials said they found no such evidence. 

The claims sparked widespread concerns about sexual abuse in the military and also lead to the creation of the I Am Vanessa Guillen Bill, co-sponsored by Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia. 

The bill would allow service members to file sexual assault claims to a third party, instead of their chain of command.

"We plea that Speaker Pelosi puts this legislation on the floor immediately. No more waiting. No more blood. No more deaths. No more sexual harassment. No more sexual assault. It’s time to stop this epidemic that exists in the military," Khawam said.

In a tweet Wednesday, Garcia said, “On this #VeteransDay, I’m thinking of Vanessa Guillén & everything her family had gone through to get #JusticeForVanessaGuillen. I won’t stop fighting until we pass the #IAmVanessaGuillenAct & it becomes the law of the land. This bill is for all of our women & men in uniform."

A spokesperson with Garcia's office said the bill currently has bi-partisan support. Robinson's alleged accomplice, Cecily Aguilar, was scheduled to appear in court, but the hearing was postponed to January.