HOUSTON — Nearly a week after dreams of bringing missing Houston soldier Vanessa Guillen home safely were shattered, the Houston community rallied behind her family on Saturday.
Two separate events drew hundreds of people.
It comes as the Secretary of the Army calls for an independent review of Guillen’s case.
One of the hottest days of the year didn’t stop people from camping out for Guillen and her family.
“Like they say it could have been your daughter, it could have been your sister, it could have been your friend but it was Vanessa,” Lupe Guillen, Vanessa’s little sister, said.
A sold-out drive-thru barbecue fundraiser had cars lined up for blocks. All proceeds benefited the family who is overwhelmed and grateful for the support.
“I mean as Houston we have to stick together,” the sister said.
They warn supporters of fake events or donation drives not approved by the family.
At a family approved “cruise” car parade near Vanessa Guillen’s memorial mural, supporters rallied for the Army specialist and her family.
Mayor Sylvester Turner also declared Saturday Vanessa Guillen Day in the city of Houston.
Other local leaders like Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia said these events show that the community demands answers in a peaceful way.
“So let’s continue to spread that love,” Garcia said. “Let’s continue to work together to ensure that the Latino community in Houston, Harris County, are heard.”
Lupe Guillen said this is just the beginning.
“We’re going to keep going until justice and answers are served because how is this possible,” she said.
Death of Vanessa Guillen
The Army Criminal Investigation Division said Aaron Robinson killed Guillen then shot and killed himself in the early morning hours of July 1 when police approached him in Killeen. Cecily Aguilar was also charged with conspiracy to tamper with evidence.
Aguilar told police Robinson killed Guillen with a hammer in the armory room on post then the two of them dismembered Guillen's body and buried the remains in three separate holes.
Guillen's family and their attorney said Guillen was being sexually harassed but she did not report it to her superiors for fear of retaliation.
3rd Cavalry Regiment Commander COL Ralph Overland assigned a team to investigate the sexual harassment claim June 18 but did not find any evidence to support the claim. Overland said the investigation was ongoing.
MORE ON VANESSA GUILLEN
- Secretary of Army to request full independent review of Vanessa Guillen investigation
- Vanessa Guillen's sister: 'I do feel like there’s so much more to the story. Everyone in her chain of command is responsible'
- 'Let's paint the whole city' | Houston artist Donkeeboy calls for more Vanessa Guillen murals
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