FORT HOOD, Texas (NewsNation Now) — The family of Spc. Vanessa Guillén will be entitled to benefits after the U.S. Army officially determined the slain soldier’s death was “in the line of duty.”
“This determination establishes that the Guillén family is entitled to a variety of Army benefits for Vanessa’s service to our nation,” said the release. “Typically these benefits include compensation to immediately help the family with expenses, funeral with full military honors, the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, and final pay and allowances.”
Guillén disappeared from Fort Hood where she was stationed on April 22. Army officials confirmed on July 6 that her remains had been found. Investigators said she was bludgeoned to death on base by a fellow soldier, Spc. Aaron Robinson, who killed himself on July 1 as police were trying to take him into custody, according to a federal complaint.
Guillén’s family has said Robinson had sexually harassed her, but the Army has said there is no evidence supporting the claim.
Members of Congress launched an investigation of Fort Hood in September after Sgt. Elder Fernandes was found dead on Aug. 25 hanging from a tree in Temple, Texas, months after reporting sexual harassment.
Under new proposed legislation named “I am Vanessa Guillén Act,” active duty service members would be allowed to file sexual harassment and assault claims to a third-party agency instead of their chain of command. The bill’s name came from a social media hashtag under which current and former soldiers have shared their own accounts of sexual assault and harassment
Guillén and Fernandes are among 28 soldiers at the base to have died this year, including five homicides and six suicides, according to Army data, reported by The Associated Press. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy says that based on Fort Hood’s average of 129 violent crimes between 2015 and 2019, it has one of the highest violent crime rates among Army installations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.