Native civil rights organizations and residents collect to honor Vanessa Guillen | Native Information

Around 50 residents and more gathered in the Spc. Vanessa Guillen mural on North Fort Hood Street Thursday evening to honor her one year after her disappearance.

The local League of United Latin American Citizens held the candlelight vigil on Thursday at around 6 p.m.

AnaLuisa Tapia, Director of District 17 of the League of United Latin American Citizens, spoke with several other guest speakers, including Mayor of Killeen, Jose Segarra, during the vigil.

“We are here today to honor the life of our soldier, our own Vanessa Guillen,” Tapia said to the crowd before opening the ceremony in prayer.

Segarra spoke with a heavy heart about the impact of Guillen and how the city and its people will continue to remember and honor them.

“We’re supposed to let everyone know today, everyone in the church, that a year later we still have Vanessa in our minds and hearts,” Segarra said. “While I can’t say words today that will ease the pain of losing a loved one at such an early age, no matter how much time has passed… but I’m here to let you know that she has not been forgotten . “

Several others also spoke during the vigil, including representatives from LULAC and TaNeika Driver-Moultrie, President of the NAACP’s Killeen Chapter.

“Today we stand in unity with you, humble and proud to be members of Vanessa’s army. We’ll support you arm in arm in supporting the I Am Vanessa Act, ”said Driver-Moultrie. “No matter how long it takes, we will remain vigilant in battle with you.”

On April 24, 2020, Fort Hood officials sent the first press release of Guillen’s disappearance, saying she was last seen around 10 p.m. on April 22, 2020.

In the days, weeks, and months that followed, details surfaced about her disappearance and the gruesome ending that followed.

During a press conference on June 23, 2020, after meeting with Fort Hood officials, U.S. Representative Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, said that Fort Hood officials had advised Guillen’s family that a manager who was conducting barrack checks that day had a Report stating that all soldiers had been held accountable, but he had since admitted that he had not seen Guillen.

Investigators say a fellow soldier, Spc. 20-year-old Aaron Robinson murdered Guillen with a hammer in a 3rd Cavalry regiment armory, although a motive was never clarified.

Robinson finally committed suicide in the wee hours of July 1, 2020 when he was confronted by Killeen police hours after Guillen’s remains were discovered.

One person was arrested in the case – Cecily Aguilar, who was Robinson’s girlfriend.

According to an affidavit filed with federal court on July 2, 2020, Aguilar reportedly told police that Robinson had used their help in disposing of Guillen’s body.

In the affidavit, Aguilar told police that Robinson had transported Guillen’s body to a remote area of ​​Bell County – later identified as being near the Leon River in the eastern part of the county.

Aguilar allegedly admitted helping Robinson mutilate and dispose of the body, which included multiple attempts to set Guillen’s remains on fire, the affidavit said.

Aguilar is awaiting trial and has been charged with an evidence manipulation conspiracy and two major evidence manipulation cases. If convicted, she faces up to 20 years in prison for each count.

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