Vanessa Guillen missing: Family says Texas-based soldier made sexual harassment claim before disappearance

BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Thursday, June 18, 2020
Family of missing soldier said she complained of sexual harassment
Family of Vanessa Guillen said she confided in them about two sexual harassment incidents before she went missing. Here's what they said happened.

KILLEEN, Texas -- The search for missing soldier Vanessa Guillen intensified as allegations of sexual harassment surfaced from her family.

Guillen's family and their attorney said that prior to her disappearance she confided in her mother and friends about being sexually harassed on the military base.

Texas Equusearch founder Tim Miller met with investigators at Fort Hood in Killeen. He vowed the organization will help in any way possible.

Mayra Guillen is Vanessa's older sister. She said her sibling's sudden disappearance makes no sense.

Vanessa grew up in southeast Houston, graduated from Cesar Chavez High School, played soccer and loves the Puerto Rican singer Bad Bunny.

Vanessa's car, wallet and keys were found on base, but her cell phone has not been recovered, according to authorities.

"Where is she? What happened? It's something I can't explain with words. It's just something that I don't wish upon anyone that feeling you don't know where she is, what she's going through," Mayra said. "Her smile says it all. You can see it in all her pictures that she rarely has a serious picture. She's just that joyful person that just wants to bring joy to everybody else."

Attorney Natalie Khawam said she's discovered at least two alleged incidents of sexual harassment -- a superior walking in on Vanessa showering and another verbally assaulting Vanessa with vulgar remarks in Spanish. Khawam said she's worried about how this case might turn out. She said Vanessa told loved ones she didn't want to report the sexual harassment out of fear of retaliation.

"The facts aren't good. I don't like them," Khawam said. "There were a few incidents where she had told her colleagues, her friends, her family about being sexually harassed but she was afraid to report it. How does someone disappear on a base that has more protection and safeguards than anyone else on the planet?"

ABC Houston affiliate KTRK reached out to the Army's Criminal Investigation Command for comment and is awaiting a response. Earlier this week, in a news release without addressing a specific question, they said this about allegations spreading on social media.

"At this point, investigators have no credible information or report that Vanessa Guillen was sexually assaulted or that this case is in any way connected to the investigation into the disappearance of PV2 Gregory Wedel-Morales, who was last seen on the night of Aug. 19, 2019 while driving his car in Killeen, Texas. Both of these allegations have been widely circulated via the media and on social media."