CA congresswoman calls for independent investigation into Vanessa Guillen's disappearance

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- As questions mount around the disappearance of Fort Hood Army specialist Vanessa Guillen, the nation's oldest and largest Latino Civil Rights organization is telling women they should not join the military.

"Because they're not going to be protected, that's just a fact of the matter that right now the army is turning a blind eye to sexual harassment in the military ranks," said Domingo Garcia, League of United Latin American Citizens National President.

RELATED: Army officials disputes claims Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed before her disappearance

Guillen's family says before she went missing she told them she was sexually harassed by a superior but didn't report it out of fear of retaliation.
"If you go to 'I am Vanessa Guillen' you will see woman after woman in the military both present and past who said they have been the subject of rape, assault and harassment with no consequences," said Domingo.

Federal prosecutors have charged 22-year-old Cecily Aguilar in connection with Guillen's disappearance. Aguilar is accused of helping another soldier, Aaron Robinson get rid of Guillen's body. Robinson who was a suspect, killed himself Wednesday morning after being confronted by police and federal marshals.

Earlier this week investigators found human remains 20 miles away from the base. Guillen's family believes it is her.

RELATED: Gruesome details in report show how soldier Vanessa Guillen may have been killed

On Sunday at 10 a.m., Brenda Garcia is organizing a Bay Area peaceful protest for answers. A caravan of cars will make its way from Concord to San Francisco.

"We always say someone needs to do something, someone needs to do something and I finally told myself this is my little something that I need to help, we need to bring awareness to safety for our soldiers," said Garcia.

Private First Class Guillen was last seen April 22 at a parking lot outside of her barracks. Investigators say her personal belongings and identification were found in the armory room where she works.
"Since she was little, she wanted to join the Army to have better opportunities for herself and for my parents, to be someone in life, to be someone important, That's why she wanted to join, to protect and serve. But yet they failed her," said Lupe Guillen, Vanessa's sister.

RELATED: What we know about Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen since her disappearance in April

The army has said it is investigating the sexual harassment claims but Guillen's family says the army took too long to act.

Now California Congresswoman Jackie Speier who is Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Military Personnel is calling for an independent investigation into Guillen's disappearance.

"We have to take these cases out of the chain of command if people are going to feel comfortable coming forward and seeking relief," said Speier.

Speier says the climate at Fort Hood is deeply flawed.

"The message goes out to the service member don't rock the boat, suck it up," she said.
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