The death of a 20-year-old female U.S. Army soldier in Texas who recently told her family she had been sexually harassed did not involve foul play, officials said this week.
According to a press release, Pvt. Ana Basalduaruiz, a combat engineer who served in the 1st Cavalry Division for the past 15 months, was found dead Monday in a maintenance bay at the Army base at Fort Hood, Texas. It is the same base where 20-year-old Vanessa Guillén was murdered three years ago after similarly claiming she had been sexually harassed.
“Officials from the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division have confirmed that at this point in the investigation of Pvt. Ana Basalduaruiz, no foul play is apparent and will remain under investigation,” said a Thursday press release from the Fort Hood Press Center .” Army CID will continue to conduct a thorough investigation and gather all evidence and facts to ensure they discover exactly what happened. Information related to any possible harassment will be fully processed and investigated.”
Basalduaruiz told her family last month that she was sexually harassed by at least one of her superiors at the base, according to a report by ABC News.
Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe assured the Army’s CID investigation “does not rule anything out and will fully and completely investigate the circumstances leading up to Ana’s death” during a Friday news conference.
CID conducts its investigations outside Fort Hood’s chain of command. Bernabe also noted that authorities are keeping Basalduaruiz’s family updated on the investigation.
“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 of the 91st Engineer Battalion. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time. She was an exceptional teammate who will be truly missed.”
Fort Hood was investigated after Guillén disappeared on April 22, 2020. Her family said she told them about being sexually harassed and that she was afraid to report it. Her dismembered remains were not found for more than a month.
Investigators said another soldier, Spc. Aaron David Robinson killed Guillén, then fled the base and shot himself when confronted by police.
Robinson’s girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, later claimed that Robinson confessed to killing Guillén by repeatedly hitting her head with a hammer inside a gun room. Prosecutors said Robinson recruited her to help him dismember and hide Guillén’s remains. Aguilar pleaded guilty in November to one count of accessory after the fact to murder and three counts of making a false statement and faces up to 30 years in prison.
An independent review of Guillén’s death resulted in the removal of 14 senior managers at the Fort Hood base.
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