#IAmVanessaGuillen bill to be introduced, protest planned
The bill is expected to be introduced on July 30.
KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - As the push continues for justice in the murder of Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen, her family and attorney are planning their next steps.
Those next steps include the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill and a protest on July 30 in the nation’s capital. The bill would create an independent avenue for military members to report sexual harassment and assault.
It’s something attorney Natalie Khawam says Guillen confided in her family about for at least two incidents.
“Our soldiers need an outlet that is independent, neutral, unbiased and give them resolution that is not conflicted with the military because there is no relationship,” Khawam said.
So far, Army and Fort Hood officials say they have found no evidence of sexual harassment.
On Friday, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy announced the Army would be conducting an independent investigation of Fort Hood and “the command culture and climate.” The news was first announced during a press conference with representatives from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and Rep. Sylvia Garcia.
“Thank you so much, but where was Vanessa’s family when that meeting happened. Where was I?” she said.
Khawam says the Army’s independent investigation is not enough.
“That’s not congressional investigation, that’s not going to get everybody exposed, every piece of that base looked into because at the end of the day you never know who on that panel the relationship they have, what involvement they have,” she said.
President Trump also sounded off about Guillen’s murder. In an exclusive interview with Telemundo, Trump called it “absolutely horrible.”
“I really applaud him saying he is demanding a report on Monday. He didn’t say he never heard or I don’t have an opinion or comment. He could have said that, but he didn’t. He said it was horrible, it was terrible…it is,” Khawam said.
She is also doing her own independent investigation as the push for a congressional investigation continues.
Funeral arrangements for the 20-year-old Houston native are still being planned.
“The hard part right now is the funeral, them letting go and having to say goodbye. It’s been hard for them to think about they don’t have a body to bury,” Khawam added.
As questions still remain on how a murder could happen on Fort Hood and what happened afterwards, Khawam says she told the family Vanessa’s story will never be buried.
“She will not be buried. They’re trying to bury the story but she will not be buried. We will keep her alive through a bill that fixes this. We’re going to keep her alive with the whole country saying never forget,” she said. “This is why we’re going to do this…so we never forget this happened. The only way to never forget something is to fix it and get that reform in there so our military and soldiers never fear that this happens to them.”
Cecily Aguilar is accused of helping dismember and hide Guillen’s body. Her next court appearance is 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 14. Her boyfriend, Aaron Robinson, bludgeoned Guillen to death with a hammer, authorities said. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound as authorities tried to arrest him.
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