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Vanessa Guillén's family talks to Estefans on 'Red Table Talk' show

Lupe Guillén, Vanessa’s younger sister, told Gloria Estefan that she keeps wondering why this happened to her sister. Estefan told her Vanessa "is going to change something — she already has.”

Slain Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén told her mother that she had been sexually harassed at the Army base before she disappeared, the mother said on Gloria Estefan's new Facebook show, “Red Table Talk: The Estefans."

An Army specialist, Vanessa Guillén, 20, was last seen April 22 at Fort Hood, Texas. Her dismembered remains were found in June.

Image: Vanessa Guillen.
Vanessa Guillen.United States Army

In an interview with Gloria Estefan, Guillén’s mother, Gloria Guillén, said she had noticed her daughter behaving differently in the months before her disappearance. She wasn’t sleeping as much and was experiencing weight loss, so, concerned that she was depressed, Gloria Guillén asked what was going on.

Vanessa was hesitant, her mother said, but then she called Fort Hood “the worst base that I had ever known and the most disgusting one.” After Vanessa said that women on the base feared speaking up, she told her mother that she had also been sexually harassed, Gloria Guillén said.

Image: Donald Trump
Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen's mother Gloria Guillen meets with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on July 30, 2020.Evan Vucci / AP file

Her mother said she begged for Vanessa not to return to the base, but Vanessa insisted she had to go back. She added that Vanessa didn't want to tell her more, “because they'll hurt you,” Gloria Guillén said. Despite this, her mother was ready to go to the police, but Vanessa said she had already reported it only to be called a liar.

In early July, as police moved in to arrest Spc. Aaron Robinson, 20, a suspect in her slaying, he shot and killed himself, according to authorities. Shortly afterward, a woman identified as Robinson's girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, 22, was arrested on federal charges of tampering with evidence, accused of having helped Robinson dispose of Guillén's body. Aguilar has pleaded not guilty and is due in court Nov. 30.

In the Estefan interview, Vanessa’s older sister, Mayra Guillén, talked about when she first met Robinson after her sister’s disappearance. “He was one of the males that was waiting on my arrival for some odd reason. His presence just stood out to me because he didn’t say a single word, he was just standing there,” she said.

“I was like, ‘This guy knows something, this guy did something.’ I feel it in my heart, I just know it, but there’s no way of me proving it,” Mayra Guillén said.

Natalie Khawam, the family’s attorney, said on the show that as for legal action, “when you’re in the military, the Feres doctrine says you’re not allowed to file any lawsuits against anyone. It could be a tour, it could be malpractice. It could be sexual assault, you don’t have any rights.”

Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, who visited the base in August, said Fort Hood had one of the highest crime rates in the Army.

"The numbers are high here. They are the highest, in most cases, for sexual assault and harassment and murder for our entire formation — the U.S. Army," McCarthy said. "So we are receiving an outside look to help us to get to those root causes."

When it comes to sexual assault in the military, cases have increased over the previous two years, according to a report from the Defense Department in 2018.

Lupe Guillén, Vanessa’s younger sister, expressed how she keeps asking herself why this had to happen to her sister.

“You may never get that answer,” Gloria Estefan said. “But the answer you are going to get is that she is going to change something — she already has.”

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