Killeen woman indicted by federal grand jury in connection with disappearance of Vanessa Guillen
WACO, Texas - A federal grand jury has indicted a Killeen woman in connection with the disappearance of U.S. Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
Cecily Anne Aguilar (Bell County Sheriff's Office)
22-year-old Cecily Aguilar has been charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence and two substantive counts of tampering with evidence. She faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each count if convicted.
During a previously scheduled court hearing in Waco Tuesday, Aguilar was arraigned on the indictment now pending against her and a not-guilty plea was entered by Aguilar’s counsel. Aguilar has been ordered to remain in federal custody until further notice. No further court dates have been scheduled.
RELATED: Fort Hood officials confirm remains found in Bell County to be that of Spc. Vanessa Guillen
According to court records, Aguilar's boyfriend, U.S. Army Spc Aaron Robinson told her that he killed a female soldier by striking her in the head with a hammer while on Fort Hood on April 22. Robinson further admitted to Aguilar that he transferred the woman’s body to a remote site in Bell County.
Subsequently, Robinson enlisted the help of Aguilar in disposing of the victim’s body, says the U.S. Attorney's office. At a later time, Aguilar recognized the deceased, whom she helped Robinson mutilate and dispose of, as missing Spc. Vanessa Guillen.
Spc. Aaron David Robinson (Fort Hood)
The indictment alleges that from April 22 through July 1, Aguilar conspired with Robinson to corruptly alter, destroy, mutilate and conceal evidence, including the victim’s body in order to prevent him from being charged with and prosecuted for any crime. The indictment also alleges that on April 23 and on April 26, Aguilar tampered with evidence, including the victim’s body, to impair its integrity and availability for use in an official proceeding.
Officials say Aguilar is the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier.
Robinson committed suicide Wednesday morning, as authorities closed in on him. Monday morning, Aguilar appeared before a judge via teleconference for the first time. Her preliminary hearing was set for July 14. During the hearing, bond will be set and it will be determined if her case proceeds to a federal grand jury.
Guillen was last seen on the morning of April 22 in the parking lot of her Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood and had not been heard from since.
Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card, and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day. She was last seen in the parking lot wearing a black t-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.
On June 30, partial human remains were found close to the Leon River in Bell County, an area of interest in the search for Guillen. More remains were found in another shallow grave on July 1. The remains were encased in a cement-like substance.
Guillen’s family and lawyer, Natalie Khawam say the 20-year-old Houston native was sexually harassed on post. They are calling for Congress to investigate the case and pass the #IAMVANESSAGUILLEN bill, which would put additional protections in place for victims of sexual harassment and assault in the military.
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The Army recently sent an investigative team from outside Fort Hood to look into the Sexual Harassment Assault and Prevention, or SHARP training on post.
Last week, the U.S. Army Public Affairs announced that the Secretary of the Army has directed an independent, comprehensive review of the command climate and culture at Fort Hood, as well as the surrounding military community.
The Army says that it will hire four "highly qualified expert" civilian consultants that will form a panel and spend an estimated five to ten days at Fort Hood.
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The consultants will review historical data, such as command climate surveys, Inspector General reports, criminal/military justice reports and sexual harassment and sexual assault response program statistics.