KILLEEN, Texas - Fort Hood says that the 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, Col. Ralph Overland, has appointed an investigating team led by a senior investigating officer (IO) to conduct a commander’s investigation, referred to as an "AR 15-6 Investigation" into allegations that Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed.
Guillen is assigned to the 3rd Cavalry Regiment and has been missing from her unit since April 22.
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"I opened an investigation concerning the information provided by the Guillen Family that Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was harassed prior to her disappearance," said Col. Ralph Overland, Commander of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment in a new release. "I take allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and we are conducting a thorough investigation."
"The 3rd Cavalry Regiment continues to aggressively search for Pfc. Guillen and will not stop until we find her," Overland adds.
Officials say that an AR 15-6 Investigation is the Army's standard method of investigation and is used to collect and analyze facts and make recommendations based on those facts.
The IO will gather the evidence, thoroughly and impartially consider it, and make findings and recommendations. Once the investigation is complete, the IO will present the findings and recommendations to Col. Overland for his review.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) recently increased the award amount from $15,000 to $25,000 for credible information to help find Guillen. The reward was doubled to $50,000 when the League of the United American Citizens (LULAC) announced it had agreed to match that reward.
20-year-old Guillen was last seen April 22 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood, Texas and has 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.
Officials say Guillen is originally from Houston and an avid runner. She's described as being of Hispanic descent, five feet, two inches tall, 126 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Her Military Occupational Specialty is a 91F, Small Arms/Artillery Repairer.
Fort Hood's Public Affairs Office Director Tom Rheinlander says, "We encourage anyone who may have information, no matter how minor, that could help in the safe return of Vanessa Guillen to please call CID agents at 254-495-7767 and share that information with them."
CID agents also can be contacted online at https://www.cid.army.mil/report-a-crime.html. The person providing information can remain anonymous. All credible leads are being investigated.
Guillen isn't the only missing Fort Hood solider that the CID is looking for information. A $25,000 reward is also being offered for information that could help locate PV2 Gregory Wedel-Morales. Morales disappeared on August 19, 2019. His mother Kim Wedel says he was out with a group of people that evening. She was told he left to go to a convenience store. That was the last time anyone reported seeing him.
According to a statement issued by CID, investigators currently have no reason to believe the two cases are related. However, the family of Guillen pointed to CID's handling of the investigation into the disappearance of Wedel-Morales as a reason why they believe the FBI and not Army CID should take the lead in investigating Guillen's disappearance.
Guillen's disappearance is also getting national attention. Actress Salma Hayek recently posted on her Instagram about Guillen. The Instagram account that Hayek tagged in her post has close to 45,000 followers as of June 18.