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Military to probe sex harassment claims made by Fort Hood soldier before she disappeared

Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was last seen at 1 p.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of the Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters for 3rd Cavalry Regiment, according to a release from Fort Hood and U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.

FORT HOOD/ U.S. ARMY

By JESSICA SCHLADEBECK | The New York Daily News | Published: June 19, 2020

NEW YORK (Tribune News Service) — A Fort Hood soldier who vanished earlier this year raised concerns about sexual harassment on the base with her family before she went missing.

Military officials confirmed in a Thursday statement that they have opened an investigation into the allegations made by Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, who was last seen alive April 22 in the parking lot of her squadron headquarters.

The 20-year-old’s car keys, barracks room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day.

“I opened an investigation concerning the information provided by the Guillen Family that Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was harassed prior to her disappearance,” said Col. Ralph Overland, Commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, in a statement obtained by FOX News.

“I take allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and we are conducting a thorough investigation.”

Fort Hood officials said in a news release earlier this week they have not yet uncovered any “credible information” to suggest Guillen was “sexually assaulted.”

During an appearance on “Dateline” earlier this week, her sister, Mayra Guillen, said her sibling had previously claimed she felt unsafe at the Fort Hood base. And it’s not the first time Guillen’s family has raised questions about alleged sexual misconduct on the base.

On a website aimed at finding the missing soldier, there is a passage written as though it were from her perspective, though it does not name the alleged harasser.

“My mom tried tried to convince me to give her the name of the person who was harassing me, but I didn’t want to get in trouble. My mom told me that she would report it for me, but I told her that I knew of other female soldiers that had reported sexual harassment and that the US Army didn’t believe them,” it reads.

“I told my mom how the same sergeant that sexually harassed me would follow me whenever I would run and exercise and how uncomfortable it made me feel. My mom told me she would put a stop to it, but I told her I would take care of it myself.”

The initial $15,000 reward offered for information in the case has since climbed to $50,000.

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