U.S. Army officials announced Tuesday that Vanessa Guillén, the 20-year-old Fort Hood soldier who went missing in April, died "in the line of duty." This ruling will grant Guillen's family some benefits.
"The Army conducts a line of duty determination for all Soldier deaths," Fort Hood officials said in a statement. The line-of-duty determination means that Guillén's family will receive Army benefits, such as compensation for expenses, the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, allowances and a funeral with full military honors.
Guillén was last seen April 22 at the base near Killeen, Texas, and her remains were found three months later. Army officials identified 20-year-old Spc. Aaron David Robinson of Illinois as a suspect in her disappearance and killing.
Robinson ran from his post after reports that partial human remains had been found near the Leon River in Bell County, officials said. He later shot himself when police tried to arrest him.
U.S. Department of Justice officials also identified Cecily Anne Aguilar, a 22-year-old Killeen resident, as a second suspect.
Aguilar, Robinson's girlfriend, was arrested on federal charges of tampering with evidence. She pleaded not guilty in July and is scheduled to make her next court appearance on Nov. 30.
If convicted, Aguilar could face up to 20 years in prison with a maximum fine of $250,000.
A public memorial service for Specialist Guillen was held Aug. 14 in Houston, where her coffin, decorated with the Mexican and American flags, made a lap around her high school’s track and laid in the school’s auditorium for a service more than seven hours long.
Among other politicians and lawmakers who have conveyed their disappointment with the case, is former Vice President Joe Biden. “We owe it to those who put on the uniform, and to their families, to put an end to sexual harassment and assault in the military, and hold perpetrators accountable,” he said in a statement on July 3.