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Family attorney talks next step in search for missing soldier

It's been more than 50 days since anyone has seen Vanessa Guillen
Published: Jun. 17, 2020 at 10:45 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) -

As the search for missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen continues, calls for an independent investigation continue to grow.

Guillen was last seen on April 22. Since then, her family has pushed for answers in her disappearance. They are now represented by attorney Natalie Khawam.

Khawam says her job is to get answers for the family and continue their push for transparency.

“I have my eye on getting the Office of Inspector General (OIG) involved to pursue and look into what was done because of their familiarity with protocol, she said.

Earlier Wednesday, Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) released a statement about Guillen’s disappearance.

“The question everyone is asking is ‘Where is Vanessa Guillen?’. It’s unacceptable that a young soldier simply disappears from a military base and is unaccounted for this amount of time. I agree with Congresswoman Garcia that there should be an independent, federal investigation into this matter. We need to get to the bottom of what happened and find Ms. Guillen,” Gonzalez said in the statement.

Texas EquuSearch and founder Tim Miller were also in Central Texas Wednesday. Via phone, Miller told KWTX he was meeting with officials on Fort Hood about Guillen’s disappearance.

In recent days, Guillen’s story has gained national attention.

Actress Salma Hayek has promised to post on her Instagram page daily about Guillen and rapper Baby Bash has pledged to donate $5,000 to the reward amount.

“If this is happening on a military base, it can happen anywhere. We need to know what failed, what safeguards failed, where the security was breached because this can’t happen again,” Khawam said.

Army officials say more than 150 people have been interviewed and multiple agencies, including the FBI, Belton PD and Texas DPS, are helping in the search.

“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,” spokesman Chris Grey said. “Do it for Vanessa and do it for her family, friends and fellow soldiers.”

As far as the allegation that Guillen was a victim of sexual assault, officials said “at this point, investigators have no credible information or report that Vanessa Guillen was sexually assaulted.”

But, Khawam says that doesn’t tell the story.

“It’s a norm that women...victims don’t report sexual harassment and assault when it happens because they are afraid of retaliation. God forbid this is an example of that,” she said.

Khawam says she along with the Guillen family and Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia will meet with Fort Hood officials on Tuesday.

A reward total is now at least $50,000.

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