FORT HOOD, Texas — U.S. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia said the disappearance of Vanessa Guillen involved foul play. Garcia said that was the word she and Guillen's family received after meeting with Fort Hood leaders and the Army Criminal Investigation Division Tuesday morning. Garcia told reporters the meeting was "good" and provided some answers, but many details of Guillen's disappearance are still missing.
"We went in with a lot of questions. We got some answers, but we still have a lot of questions," Garcia said.
Garcia said Fort Hood officials could only tell them the last time Guillen was seen was 11:30 a.m. on April 22. They could not provide a full accounting of her day.
"We don't have an actual 'tick-tock' (of) the whole day, who did what when," Garcia said. "That's very concerning to the family, it's very disturbing. There probably should have been three or four different checks at the barracks before the end of the day.
Garcia also said that Fort Hood leaders told her one supervisor submitted his report incorrectly that day.
"The supervisor or sergeant who is supposed to account for everyone in the barracks submitted a report that everyone was accounted for when in fact now he's admitted that he did not see Vanessa," Garcia said.
There were other pieces of information that the Army Criminal Investigation Division simply could not release Garcia said.
"We were not told who was the last person who saw her. We were not told who last witnessed her going to the parking lot," Garcia said.
Garcia said Fort Hood officials assured her they would not stop searching until they found Guillen.
Garcia, Guillen's mother, sisters, the family attorney and a representative from the League of United Latin Citizens of America spoke in front of the Fort Hood main gate.
Guillen's mother, Gloria, gave an emotional speech in Spanish demanding justice, saying she did not trust Fort Hood and didn't want to talk to them.
She said she believed everything they've told her was lies.
"This girl is my life. She's my everything," Gloria said. "I want my little girl back. For the love of God, help me."
The family attorney, Natalie Kahwam, said Fort Hood never told the family when Guillen disappeared. They called Fort Hood to tell them they had not heard from her.
Kahwam also questioned why there had not been a 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. check to make sure soldiers were accounted for.
Guillen was wearing a black T-shirt in the parking lot of her regimental engineer squadron headquarters on Fort Hood.
Her car keys, room key, identification card and wallet were found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day.
Garcia said Guillen was called into work on her off-day but it was unclear why.
Fort Hood announced last week it launched an investigation into claims Guillen was sexually harassed.
Garcia said Guillen had reported to her friends and family that a sergeant once came into her shower while she was naked. Garcia said she was told they didn't start a sexual harassment investigation earlier because that was not considered criminal.
Kahwam said she would demand a congressional investigation.
"I want to know what happened and who is covering up for who and why are they covering up," said Kahwam.
Army CID is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for credible information leading to the whereabouts of Guillen.
LULAC added $25,000 to the reward. Rapper Baby Bash also said he would offer $5,000.
Anyone with information about her whereabouts can call CID at 254-287-2722 or the Military police desk at 254-288-1170.
"I want to thank Fort Hood for welcoming me and the Guillén family today," Representative Sylvia Garcia said. "I still have many questions after my visit, but I appreciate their commitment to finding Vanessa and willingness to continue working with us until Vanessa is found."
During the visit, Col. Ralph Overland, 3rd CR commander, and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division agents updated Garcia and the Guillén family on the most recent searches and status of the investigation, and also showed them Vanessa’s work area and the parking lot where she was last seen, according to Fort Hood.
"We appreciate the opportunity to provide the Guillen family, Congresswoman Garcia, and other congressional delegates a comprehensive update," Overland said. "They are Vanessa's family, and Vanessa is part of our family. We all have the same goal—to find Vanessa and bring her home. The Regiment is fully committed to this and we will not stop until we find her."
Fort Hood later released a statement that showed Congressional member's statements on their impressions of the meeting. Those statements are as follows:
Senator Ted Cruz
“I want to thank Fort Hood leadership for briefing my staff on the investigation into Pfc. Vanessa Guillén’s disappearance," Cruz said. “I hope we will have answers about what happened soon, and we will continue to provide any assistance we can."
Congressman John Carter
"The disappearance of Pfc. Vanessa Guillén is a heartbreaking situation, and our community is praying for her safe return," Carter said. "I appreciate Ft. Hood for their ongoing efforts to keep me and my team updated on the extensive search for Pfc. Guillén. I will continue working with Representative Garcia and Fort Hood to ensure that every effort persists to find Vanessa and bring her home."
Congressman Roger Williams
"I want to thank Col. Ralph Overland and the Army Criminal Investigation Division agents for briefing us on the latest developments and efforts in the search for Pfc. Vanessa Guillen,” Williams said. “I continue to closely monitor the situation and communicate with Fort Hood leadership as the investigation into her disappearance continues. My prayers are with the Guillén family and all of those working around the clock to bring one of our nation's heroes home."
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