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Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen believed dead, family says; 1 suspect kills himself, 1 arrested

Missing soldier's family speaks out
Missing soldier's family speaks out 01:28

The family lawyer for missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen said Wednesday that they "believe" the human remains that were discovered late Tuesday belong to her. Meanwhile authorities said Wednesday that one suspect was dead and another suspect was in custody in connection with Guillen's disappearance.

During a news conference in Washington D.C., attorney Natalie Khawam said the Guillen family believes she is dead although the Army has yet to confirmed the identity of the remains. The family called for a congressional investigation of the base. 

"We believe her remains were found," she said. "It's time we fix our system. Women should not be afraid to come forth about sexual harassment." 

"She is a human being as well," Guillen's sister Lupe said Wednesday. "I want Fort Hood Army base to shut down...They're protecting one another."

Killeen Police Department said a suspect wanted in connection with Guillen's disappearance shot and killed himself as authorities were closing in. Police said Wednesday he was an active duty soldier, but did not identify him. 

The Army said the suspect, a junior solider from Fort Hood, fled the post late Tuesday. A second suspect, the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier, is currently in custody in the Bell County Jail awaiting charges. 

Chris Grey, an Army spokesperson, reiterated that the identity of the partial remains had not yet been confirmed. 

"We have made significant progress in this tragic situation and are doing everything possible to get to the truth and bring answers to the family of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen," Grey said Wednesday. 

On Tuesday, special agents with the Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) returned to an "area of interest" close to Leon River in Bell County, Texas and found partial human remains, according to Grey. The location is about 30 miles away from Fort Hood. 

Khawam, the family attorney, told CBS News' Mireya Villarreal that investigators told the family they believe the remains could be of the missing soldier, but a forensic team must confirm that. 

Remains found in search for missing soldier 01:57

The search for Guillen was put on pause until more is known about the identity of the remains. The head of a volunteer search group told CBS affiliate KHOU that a tip led them to the area and they found the remains in a shallow grave. 

"Whoever did this did a good job of concealing it. I can honestly say that I was probably standing right on top of it, other people were standing right on top of it, many searches walked over it, cadaver dogs did not alert to it," said Tim Miller, who is with Texas Equusearch. 

Guillen was last seen on base on April 22. Last week, Texas congresswoman Sylvia Garcia said Army officials suspect "foul play." 

Before she went missing, Guillen told family members, friends and colleagues at work about being sexually harassed by her superiors on two different occasions, Khawam said.  

In an interview with CBS News, Khawam demanded the Army to release more information, claiming "they're covering up for each other" at the base.

"They're not here to help us find Vanessa," Khawam said. "They're here to hoard that information because they don't want us knowing what's happened." 

Guillen family press conference

WATCH LIVE: Family of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen says her remains have been found and the suspect is dead https://bit.ly/3dNhPft

Posted by CBS Austin on Wednesday, July 1, 2020
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