20/20 on ID is investigating the murder of Vanessa Guillén, a soldier based at Fort Hood, Texas, who was brutally beaten to death by another soldier, Aaron David Robinson, in April 2020.
Specialist Robinson beat 20-year-old Pfc. Guillén to death while she was on duty in the armory. Her tragic death eventually led to the exposure of a culture of sexual harassment at the base that had been going on for years.
Shortly before she died, Guillén told her family that had she had been sexually assaulted by a superior at the base. She also told them that numerous other women had made complaints against the individual, but they had been ignored.
Guillén’s mother encouraged her to report the molester, and the soldier assured her mom that she could “put a stop to it.” It should be noted that she identified her attacker as a Sargeant, and investigators say there is no evidence that Robinson had sexually assaulted her.
Unfortunately, Guillén disappeared a short time after the conversation with her mother. She was last seen alive on the afternoon of April 22, 2020, in the parking lot of her unit. Her room key, identification card, and wallet were all located in the armory where she was scheduled to be on duty that day.
A search and investigation were immediately initiated by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CD) with the cooperation of multiple police agencies, including the FBI. Soldiers and investigators combed the area looking for the missing soldier, but it took over two months before there was a breakthrough.
The remains of Specialist Guillén were finally discovered near the Leon River, in Bell County, TX., on June 30, 2020. (Guillén was posthumously promoted to Specialist).
Law enforcement had previously searched the area without finding anything, but they subsequently concluded that wildlife had dug up the remains.
When news emerged that Guillén’s remains had been located, Robinson fled Fort Hood; he had managed to slip out unnoticed while all soldiers were confined to barracks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cecily Aguilar told the cops Robinson had killed Guillén
In the meantime, his live-in girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, was being interviewed by the cops when she made a stunning admission. She said that Robinson had beaten Specialist Guillén to death with a hammer in the armory room.
The investigators believe that after Guillén’s murder, Robinson first hid the remains in a large box, which he then transported out of the base. Aguilar then helped her boyfriend dismember the body using a machete and a hatchet. They also tried burning the body parts before burying them.
The local Killeen, TX., cops located Robinson within their town a couple of days later and attempted to make contact; however, he killed himself with a firearm before he could be apprehended.
Aguilar was later charged with tampering with a body.
Further investigation into practices at Fort Hood
Guillén’s family have campaigned for more transparency in the investigation and have been joined by those who claim there is a culture of sexual harassment pervading through Fort Hood.
An official investigation into practices at Fort Hood found that senior officers had allowed a command climate “that was permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault” and that the abuse of soldiers had gone on for years. The report led to the dismissal or suspension of 14 high-ranking officers.
More from 20/20 on ID
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20/20 on ID airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.