Watch CBS News

Family of female soldier who died at Fort Hood demand answers as Army says no foul play evident

14 leaders fired or suspended at Fort Hood
Fort Hood report highlights failing leadership on base, 14 soldiers fired or suspended 06:29

The family of a female soldier who died at Fort Hood in Texas is demanding answers after U.S. Army investigators said late Thursday that no foul play was evident in her death. 

Pvt. Ana Basalduaruiz, 21, a combat engineer, had served with the 1st Cavalry Division for the past 15 months, officials said. 

"Army CID will continue to conduct a thorough investigation and gather all evidence and facts to ensure they discover exactly what transpired. Information related to any possible harassment will be addressed and investigated fully," Fort Hood officials said in a news release, which said Basalduaruiz died on March 13.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of PV2 Ana Basalduaruiz, and we extend our sympathies to her father, mother, and her sister," said Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, commander, 91st Engineer Battalion. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time. She was an exceptional teammate that will truly be missed."

Basalduaruiz's parents said that base officials told them her death was caused by suicide, Telemundo News reported. Her mother, Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, who lives in Michoacán, Mexico, where her daughter was raised, told Telemundo News that her daughter had complained about being sexually harassed by an Army superior and others on the base.

The Army is investigating the death of Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz, a combat engineer, who served with the 1st Cavalry Division for the past 15 months at Fort Hood.  photo via The Pink Berets

Despite the latest update from the Army, Lucy Del Gaudio, a spokesperson for Basalduaruiz' family, told CBS News that the family is still mostly in the dark regarding the details surrounding Basalduaruiz' death.

"Nobody really has a valid timeline right now," said Del Gaudio, who is also the chief operations officer for the Pink Berets, a Texas-based not-for-profit that works with women in the military struggling with trauma. 

Del Gaudio said the Army has "stonewalled" the family when it comes to the allegations of sexual harassment. 

"The Army is doing what they always do, not saying anything," Del Gaudio said. 

The family's main objective now is getting as much information as they can. 

"At this time, they just need support, they want to see how they can get answers- any answers they can possibly get," she said. 

The news comes as the beleaguered base is instituting changes after a string of soldier deaths, including 20-year-old Vanessa Guillén, who was allegedly killed by a fellow soldier. In 2020, Guillén went missing after she reported allegedly being sexually harassed by Army Spc. Aaron David Robinson. He shot and killed himself as police tried to arrest him in connection with Guillén's murder.  

Guillén's sister tweeted on Wednesday, "She (Ana) was only 21 years old…I will be speaking to the family soon, I find it very sensitive to speak on something I'm not fully aware off yet and this is also very triggering for me."    

Guillén's death led to congressional inquiries and the formation of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee, whose 2020 report concluded the base's command has been permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault. The report also found that criminal division investigators had inadequate experience and soldiers felt unsafe on the base. 

In 2021, the committee released a series of 70 recommendations, including strict protocol and time for reporting a missing soldier. 

But, according to Del Gaudio, this incident is just a repeat of what happened to Guillén and no lessons have been learned. 

"This is reliving Vanessa Guillén again," she said. "It shows that all the leg work that we worked on diligently, the promises the Department of Defense made, and actions made against Fort Hood, were not taken seriously. Harassment is still prevalent and they need to address it."

Basalduaruiz's father, Baldo Basaldua, who lives in California, posted a video on Facebook of his daughters dancing and singing in the backseat of a car, writing, "Never leave me, I love you baby."

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here.

For more information about mental health care resources and support, The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. ET, at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or email

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.