Reward for information about missing Fort Hood soldier rises to $50,000
FORT HOOD, Texas (KWTX) - The reward offered for information leading to the whereabouts of Fort Hood Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, of Houston, increased to $50,000 Tuesday with the addition of another $25,000 from the League of United Latin American Citizens.
LULAC President Domingo García announced the contribution to the reward fund during a news conference Tuesday.
The search for the missing soldier has attracted national attention and support from actress Selma Hayek and U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, who announced Tuesday her office has asked the FBI for further help and has opened an inquiry with the Defense Department.
"We need to get to the bottom of this," García said.
"We need make sure that we look at every single complaint and every single allegation that is being made in this case and that we get to the bottom of it. Vanessa's mom has made it clear that Vanessa has previously... expressed to her and her sister about not feeling safe on the base and that perhaps, being the victim of sexual assault on the base. This is very serious."
Guillen disappeared sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on April 22.
She was last seen in the parking lot of her 3rd Cavalry Regiment Engineer Squadron Headquarters.
Keys to her car and her barracks room and her ID card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she had worked earlier in the day.
She was last seen wearing a black T-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.
Guillen, an avid runner, is 5-foot-2, weighs 126 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command increased the reward it’s offering for information leading to the whereabouts Guillen by $10,000 to $25,000 Monday.
“We know somebody out there has some very critical information pertaining to this investigation and we strongly encourage you to do the right thing and come forward,” Army CID spokesman Chris Grey said Monday.
“Do it for Vanessa and do it for her family, friends and fellow soldiers,” he said.
Army investigators say they have “no credible information” that she was sexually assaulted or that her disappearance is linked to the case of another missing soldier, Pvt. Gregory Wedel-Morales, who was last seen driving his car on Aug. 19 in Killeen.
The reward for information in his disappearance was also increased to $25,000 Monday.
“We are completely committed to finding Vanessa and aggressively going after every single piece of credible information and every lead in this investigation,” Grey said.
“We will not stop until we find Vanessa.”
Investigators have interviewed more than 150 people, Grey said.
“We are working very closely with multiple law enforcement agencies to include the FBI, Belton Police Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as others,” Grey said.
“We have also partnered with Texas EquuSearch and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to tap into their resources as well. We have participated in ground and air searches on Fort Hood and throughout the Central Texas region.”
A special Mass was held Saturday evening at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Killeen Saturday evening for Guillen.
The service was entirely in Spanish for Guillen’s family.
The church and many close friends of the family say the very least that people can do to provide support is to pray for her health and safety as the search continues.
Authorities are asking anyone with information to contact Army CID Special Agents at (254) 287-2722 or the Military Police Desk at (254) 288-1170.
Information may be submitted anonymously online, as well.
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