HOUSTON — Houston Police Department verified the remains of U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen ahead of her funeral over the weekend because of distrust between the victim’s family and Fort Hood investigators, according to Chief Art Acevedo.
“They don’t trust Fort Hood. They’re having a hard time trusting the military,” Acevedo said Saturday outside a private funeral service. The police chief was one of many Houston leaders who attended Saturday’s memorial.
On Monday, Acevedo said the police department had a private lab in Denver confirm the remains using DNA samples from family members and the body that were collected by HPD homicide detectives.
“As a mother, I think you always hold on to a little bit of hope,” Acevedo said, “but there was great relief knowing that an independent lab had confirmed that it was Vanessa’s remains.”
Guillen will finally be laid to rest as her family continues to campaign for justice and national military reform regarding sexual harassment. Ahead of the private ceremony, a public service honoring Guillen’s life was held Friday at her Houston ISD high school.