The case of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén drew nationwide attention and ignited changes in the way the military handles abuse and sexual harassment.
After disappearing from the Fort Hood Army base in Texas in April 2020, Guillén’s remains were found two months later. A fellow soldier fatally shot himself as police tried to take him into custody in connection with her case, authorities said. Before her death, Guillén had told her family she was sexually harassed. An Army report found Guillén reported that she had been sexually harassed by a supervisor, but unit leadership did not take any action, though the report said it was unrelated to her killing.
The search for the Latina soldier while she was missing garnered widespread coverage as her family, public officials, lawmakers and celebrities demanded #JusticeForVanessa. It also drew criticism over the pace of the military's investigation into her disappearance. Despite an investigation and report that led to changes in the Army, Guillén’s story reignited widespread calls for improvements in the way the military handles abuse and sexual harassment.
A new limited-series podcast in English and Spanish, Fort Hood: The Vanessa Guillén Case, probes the killing of the Latina soldier and the questions it raises. Produced by Noticias Telemundo and The Story Lab, the seven-part series is narrated by Mexican actress Cecilia Suárez, a feminist advocate and United Nations activist.
Beyond the investigation around Guillén and her family's insistent search for answers, the podcast examines the military base's record of sexual abuse, violence and disappearances.
The series delves into what some soldiers have described as a culture of abuse and the repercussions of the #MeToo movement and demands for greater accountability and change in the U.S. Army.
In one of the episodes, one female soldier said she “was raped and kept it quiet.”
“It’s like the elephant in the room,” another soldier said. “Everybody knows about it, but nobody wants to say it.”
“This is a consequential story that touches on critical issues in our country,” said Luis Fernández, president of Telemundo Network News. “It’s a revealing exposé and a necessary investigation."
The first weekly episode was released Thursday. The series is available for streaming on all podcast platforms, including Spotify and Apple.
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