Woman charged in disappearance of Fort Hood soldier named in 3-count indictment
WACO, Texas (KWTX) – Cecily Anne Aguilar, 22, of Killeen, who’s accused of helping her boyfriend dismember and bury the body of Fort Hood Spc. Vanesa Guillen, 20, remains in custody without bond after pleading not guilty Tuesday afternoon.
No additional court dates have been set.
Aguilar was named in a three-count federal indictment Tuesday charging one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence and two counts of tampering with evidence.
Each count carries a potential maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Aguilar, the indictment alleges, conspired with her boyfriend, Spc. Aaron David Robinson, of Calumet City, Ill, “to corruptly alter, destroy, mutilate and conceal evidence, including the victim’s body in order to prevent Robinson from being charged with and prosecuted for any crime” and that Aguilar tampered with evidence in this case, including the victim’s body, to impair its integrity and availability for use in an official proceeding,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a press release Tuesday evening.
A chilling federal affidavit released on July 2 says Robinson beat Guillen, with a hammer and that her body was later dismembered and burned.
Robinson shot himself in the head early in the morning on July 1 in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue as Killeen officers approached him.
He died at the scene.
Authorities later arrested Aguilar, the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier.
Guillen was last seen sometime between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on April 22 in the parking lot of her 3rd Cavalry Regiment Engineer Squadron Headquarters.
Keys to her car and her barracks room and her ID card and wallet was later found in the armory room where she had worked earlier in the day.
The affidavit filed in Aguilar’s case says on April 22 Guillen left the room in which she was working to visit the arms room that Robinson controlled to confirm serial numbers of weapons and equipment.
Robinson, who was one of the last people to see Guillen, told investigators Guillen checked several serial numbers and he then gave her the paperwork and serial number for a .50 caliber machine gun that needed repairs, the affidavit says.
“He said she left the arms room and he believed she would have gone next to the motor pool,” but soldiers there told investigators she never arrived, the affidavit says.
Aguilar initially told investigators that she was with Robinson all night on April 22, but on June 30 she admitted that Robinson told her “he struck a female soldier in the head with a hammer multiple times at his arms room, killing her on Fort Hood,” the affidavit says.
“Spc. Robinson then placed her in a box and moved the box to a location near the Leon River,” the affidavit says.
Two witnesses told investigators they saw Robinson pulling a large, wheeled “tough box” out of the arms room in which he worked, load it into his vehicle and drive away, the affidavit says.
Late on April 22 or early on the morning of April 23, Robinson picked up Aguilar at a gas station and took her to the site near the river, the affidavit says.
“Robinson walked Aguilar over to the woods and opened up a box for Aguilar and she saw a dead female inside the box. Aguilar, on a later date, identified the dead female as Vanessa Guillen,” the affidavit says.
“To more easily dispose of and to conceal the body of the dead female, Spc. Robinson and Aguilar proceeded to dismember the dead female’s body. They used a hatchet or ax and a machete type knife. They removed the limbs and the head from the body. Spc. Robinson and Aguilar attempted to burn the body; however, the body would not burn completely. They placed the dead female in three separate holes and covered up the remains.”
The two returned to the site on April 26, uncovered the remains and “continued the process of breaking down the remains,” which were burned again.
Cellphone records showed that both Robinson and Aguilar were near the Leon River together on April 23 and again on April 26, the affidavit says.
Authorities searched the area on June 21 and discovered a burn site and “what appeared to be the burned remains of a plastic tote or tough box” in an area near where Robinson’s phone was pinged.
Nine days later, on June 30, contractors working on a fence along the river discovered what appeared to be human remains.
Investigators searched the area “and identified scattered human remains that appeared to have been placed into a concrete-like substance and buried.”
The remains were later confirmed to be Guillen’s.
The affidavit does not suggest a motive for the killing.
Robinson was assigned to Alpha Company, 3rd Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood.
He was not Guillen’s supervisor, but did work in a building adjacent to where Guillen worked.
Members of the slain soldier’s family say Guillen told them before she disappeared she faced sexual harassment.
Investigators, on a call with reporters last Friday, however, said she faced “potentially some harassment, not of a sexual nature” and said the harassment did not come from Robinson or “people of interest” in the investigation.
Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy confirmed last Friday that an independent review of Fort Hood’s handling of the Guillen case will be conducted,
“I am directing an independent and comprehensive review of the command limit and culture. We have to listen in order to create enduring change,” McCarthy said in a tweet.
The confirmation came after a press conference was held in Washington, D.C. with leaders from the League of United Latin American Citizens and U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston.
Natalie Khawam, the attorney who represents Guillen’s family, says President Donald Trump will meet with family members on July 29 ahead of the July 30 introduction of the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill, which would create an independent body to which military members could report sexual harassment and assault.
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