President Donald Trump on Thursday met with the family of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, who was murdered in April.
Guillen’s mother spoke to Trump tearfully in Spanish about her daughter, begging him to do whatever it took to get to the bottom of her daughter’s death.
President Trump said the story “hit me very hard” when he saw it on the news and said that the FBI and Department of Justice were involved in the case.
“We didn’t want this swept under the rug which could happen,” Trump said.
Guillen, age 20, was reported missing from Fort Hood in April but was not found until her dismembered remains were found in a shallow grave in Texas in July.
When authorities approached suspect Army Spc. Aaron Robinson, he shot and killed himself.
Robinson and his girlfriend Cecily Aguilar burned Guillen’s body, dismembered it, mixed the parts with concrete, and buried the remains in three holes, according to a criminal complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Guillen’s attorney thanked the president for drawing attention to the case, noting that there was a systemic culture of sexual harassment at Ft. Hood.
“There isn’t enough protections in place,” she said. “Because they get nervous about retaliation.”
Guillen’s family said that she was sexually harassed by Robinson but was afraid of reporting it to her commanders.
“We believe that she was going to report him,” the family’s lawyer Natalie Khawam said about the killer, who said that he lured her into a room and bludgeoned her to death with a hammer.
Women veterans and members of Congress have seized on Guillen’s story to demand a congressional investigation. Other women shared stories of assault in the military using the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillen calling for the military to seriously address cases of sexual assault.
The Army announced Thursday that they would conduct an independent review of the Fort Hood, Texas command and culture.
“We’re going to look into it very powerfully, and we already have started, as you know, and we’ll get to the bottom of it,” Trump said. “Maybe things can come out that will help other people in a situation like Vanessa.”
The president also offered to personally help out with the funeral expenses.