FORT HOOD, Texas — More than two months later after disappearing, Fort Hood Soldier Vanessa Guillen is still missing. Family, friends and supporters in Vanessa's case continued their weekly Friday protests at 4 P.M. on Fort Hood St. and Rancier Rd. in Killeen.
The protest comes the same week Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia said the Army Criminal Investigation Division suspects foul play in Vanessa's case. Congresswoman Garcia and Guillen's family met with Fort Hood leaders Tuesday to discuss the ongoing search efforts.
This week the Army drew criticism from the League of United Latin American Citizens for how they have handled Vanessa's case.
LULAC said in a statement they are taking a stand with the Guillen family and in doing so, urging other Latino families to not enlist in the U.S. Army until Vanessa is found and those responsible have been brought to justice.
"Today, we join with Vanessa’s mother in urging our nation’s Latino families NOT to encourage, support nor allow their sons and daughters to enlist into the U.S. Army until Vanessa is found and those responsible for her crime are brought to justice," they said. "Also, we demand that the officials within CID who have mangled this case be immediately removed and brought up on disciplinary charges for dereliction of duty and leaving a soldier out there somewhere; something our nation does not do."
Also this week, sexual assault advocates called the military's handling of Vanessa's case an example of its disregard for victims.
Fort Hood strongly disputed the claims in a statement Friday, saying all efforts were being made to find Guillen.
"Fort Hood officials are very concerned for the welfare of PFC Vanessa Guillen and we fully understand the frustration felt by the family, friends and fellow soldiers of Vanessa," the statement said. "We are doing everything in our power to get her back and will not stop until we do. We strongly reject some misinformation that is being portrayed and especially reject any notion there is a 'cover-up' of any kind. Fort Hood has been looking for PFC Guillen since day one when she disappeared. Fort Hood leadership has led hundreds of hours of searches through the buildings, barracks, fields, training areas, lakes and trails all over Fort Hood, Texas. Troopers from all squadrons across the regiment have been aggressively participating in the effort to find PFC Guillen because they are dedicated to their mission and will never leave a soldier behind."
The 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, Col. Ralph Overland, appointed an investigating team led by a senior investigating officer to conduct a commander's investigation into allegations that Guillen was sexually harassed. Guillen's family said she told them it was coming from her sergeant.
In a press release Friday, Fort Hood said the 3rd Cavalry Regiment "continues to aggressively search" for Guillen. The release said search areas have included buildings, barracks, fields, training areas, lakes and trails all over Fort Hood.
The Army Criminal Investigative Command offered $25,000 for information that helps find Guillen.
LULAC announced it was adding $25,000 to the reward. Rapper Baby Bash also said he would offer $5,000.