KILLEEN, Texas - On day 50 of the fight to find Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, Mayra Guillen shared a message for her sister who she "strongly" believes is alive.
"Just hold on, you’re gonna be back home to continue with your plans," she said at a press conference Wednesday in Houston.
Vanessa Guillen’s longtime friend Frida Hernandez says the 20-year-old soldier had plans to go to college to study kinesiology after the Army. Everything was put on hold when the Houston woman disappeared from Fort Hood on April 22.
Fort Hood officials and Special Agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old Soldier stationed at Fort Hood, Texas. (Fort Hood Press Center)
"I don’t have a normal life anymore. I have to keep pushing until we find her because I have faith in God that we’re gonna find her and it’s gonna be soon," said Mayra Guillen.
Mayra Guillen says her sister texted her boyfriend on the morning of April 22 that she was headed to work in the posts’ arms room. The family was told there are no cameras inside. There her CAC card, debit card, and keys were found. Her cellphone is still missing.
"The last ping being there in Fort Hood," explained Mayra Guillen.
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The Guillen family is asking anyone with information to reach out. "I feel that someone has to have seen something on a base where 40,000 plus soldiers reside," Mayra Guillen said.
The family is also asking for a change of investigators. As of Wednesday, the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, known as CID, was leading the investigation. Mayra Guillen says she wishes the FBI would take the lead. Hernandez started a petition calling on the federal government to take action.
"It happened inside of a federal building, military base and we still don’t get answers as to who, what, where exactly, and why," Mayra Guillen said.
The family largely points its distrust of Army investigators to the 2019 disappearance of then 23-year-old Gregory Wedel-Morales. Fort Hood Communications confirms he was labeled AWOL on August 20, 2019. Wedel-Morales’ family says he told them he was slated to exit the Army on September 10, 2019.
Army Human Resources have yet to confirm Wedel-Morales’ exit date. His mother Kim Wedel started this petition "to help change the practice of assuming soldiers are AWOL instead of looking while leads are still hot."
CID has authorized an up to $15,000 reward for information that helps locate both Guillen and Morales.
"I don't want this to keep happening. If it already happened to one soldier, my sister was the next one, whose gonna be the third one?" said Mayra Guillen.
A peaceful "find Vanessa Guillen" protest will be held on Friday, June 12 at Fort Hood St and Rancier Rd in Killeen from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. A mass will be held for Vanessa Guillen on Saturday, June 13 at 7 p.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Killeen.