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We should care about the disappearance of Vanessa Guillen

We should care about the disappearance of Vanessa Guillen

We should care about the disappearance of Vanessa Guillen
June 29
14:07 2020

Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was last seen in the parking lot of Fort Hood on April 22 shortly after telling her mother that she was being sexually harassed by a superior. It has been two months and a $25,000 reward from the United States Army since Guillen’s disappearance, however, Gloria Guillen has yet to receive a response on what happened to her 20-year-old daughter. Guillen’s disappearance has gained traction through social media, specifically for its myriad of unanswered questions. Though there have been protests to demand the Army find Guillen, has there been any real push from the military to find this young servicewoman? I believe they should show more concern for Guillen and here is why you should be concerned for Guillen, too.

Guillen is not the first disappearance on Fort Hood, according to an article written by ABC news. Skeletal remains of a soldier were found in a field on June 20 in Killeen, Texas, after an anonymous tip was given. The remains were later identified as Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, who was last seen on Aug. 19, 2019, driving outside his post. Morales was due to be discharged from the Army mere days after his disappearance, according to a separate article by ABC 13.

Morales’ disappearance came less than a year apart from Guillen’s and even though neither case is thought to be related, both were stationed at Fort Hood which raises my suspicions. Unlike Guillen, the events leading up to Morales disappearance are currently unknown. The death of Morales was rightfully ruled a homicide and I believe it’s very evident that someone wanted Morales gone. First, there was the anonymous tip which means someone knew where his remains were. Secondly, he was found in a remote field and had to be identified by the Army’s Dental Corps.

While Morales’ exact cause of death is currently pending, there seems to be a clearer motive of why someone would want to bring harm to Guillen. She reported two separate incidents where she felt sexually harassed. The first time was when a superior walked in on her showering and the second time was when another superior made vulgar remarks towards her in Spanish. She confided in her mother, sister and several colleagues but refused to name any names out of fear of retaliation.

Though her disappearance has circulated through several different media platforms, which includes an increase in visibility after Mexican-American film actress Salma Hayek made a post regarding her case, I feel the heart of the search belongs to the credit of LULAC. The Latino Rights group has undoubtedly put the most pressure on Army investigators to find answers to this ongoing mystery.

They’ve used her image for billboards, held vigils and created petitions for the White House. No matter how far LULAC has taken it, the best military officials seem to be able to do is give a simple shrug. Not to completely detest the efforts of the military, they’ve deployed 500 soldiers daily to search for her, but it’s hard for me to shake the feeling that some officials know more than they let on. If LULAC or Guillen’s family never pressed any questions on her whereabouts, would the Army even search for her?

Guillen was a young woman who made a conscious decision to serve her country, one that a lot of people don’t have to make. She worked in an armory room where her car keys, barracks key and ID were left behind. There has to be an increase in visibility for this soldier so she can go back to her family. Guillen wasn’t a soldier who disappeared on foreign soil, she disappeared in a heavily guarded military post. The search for Vanessa Guillen won’t stop until we get answers from military officials on what happened to Guillen. If we don’t place pressure, this search could be another fad on the internet and we risk Guillen’s family never knowing what happened to their loved one.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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2 Comments

  1. Flower
    Flower June 29, 18:15

    Something seems shady here…Someone out there needs to give that tip!!

    Reply to this comment
  2. EQ
    EQ June 29, 18:32

    Sending prayers to the family.

    Reply to this comment

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