Ana Basaldua, 20-Year-Old Female Soldier Stationed at Fort Hood Found Dead
A 20-year-old soldier named Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz is dead following an apparent suicide at the same military base in Fort Hood where Aaron David Robinson murdered Vanessa Guillen in 2020. Authorities believe Ruiz killed herself after multiple instances of sexual harassment and abuse at the base.
Ruiz’s body discovered in a maintenance bay at Fort Hood
A yet-to-be-identified person on the base discovered Ruiz’s body in a maintenance bay on the premises. Although authorities believe Ruiz most likely died by her own hand, her family believes it was the harassment she endured that led to her death.
Representatives for Fort Hood released a statement, saying, “Sadly, the First Cavalry Division lost trooper Ana Basaldua Ruiz, a combat engineer who served in the division for the last 15 months.”
They continued, “The Army Criminal Investigation Division and the chain of command are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding his death. The chain of command is in contact with his family to update them and provide any information that may be released.”
Ruiz told her father she wanted to die because of constant harassment
Although Ruiz was initially enthusiastic about going to Fort Hood for a three-year contract, she sent messages to her father that told a different story. Her father, Baldo Basaldua, said she told him “she was no longer comfortable, that her whole life was wrong, [and] that she wanted to die,” according to Telemundo.
Ruiz enlisted in the Armed Forces in 2020. However, she had to wait a year before the military sent her to Fort Hood because of the pandemic. The Mexico-born soldier eventually made it to Fort Hood in August 2021 before her tragic death in March of this year.
Responding to the texts she sent him about wanting to die, Basaldua described his attempts to make contact with his daughter on March 13. “I sent her messages and they didn’t reach her anymore. The delivered one no longer appeared and I went to look for her [satellite] location,” he said.
“It appeared that she was like in a park inside the base and that was it,” he continued. He added that he told her he was going to be the one who died, “for not knowing anything about her” whereabouts. By Monday morning, service members approached Basaldua at his job to inform him of what happened.
She said something similar to her mother about abuse at the base
Prior to her death, Ruiz also told her mother about the constant sexual advances from other people on the base. She also mentioned a superior officer who “was harassing her.” According to her mother, Ruiz said, “Everyone wants to sleep with me, but they’re assholes.”
Ruiz’s mother spoke to Telemundo via telephone from Michoacán, Mexico, where she lives with her other daughter.
“She told me that she was very sad, that a lot of very strong things were happening, that things were not as normal as I thought, that she couldn’t tell me much, but that there was going to be a moment when we were going to be together,” she said.
“[She told me] that she wanted to see me, that she wanted to hug me, and she wanted me to hug her a lot, like when she was little,” her mother added. Additionally, Ruiz’s mother is waiting for Texas to issue her a humanitarian visa to come to the United States and see her daughter’s remains.
People can’t help but compare Ruiz to Vanessa Guillen
Immediately, people started comparing Ruiz to Vanessa Guillen. The latter also died at Fort Hood, in 2020, after fellow soldier Aaron David Robinson murdered her and hid her body. However, the violence at Fort Hood extends far beyond just Ruiz and Guillen.
According to a profile in Vanity Fair, there were 39 deaths at Fort Hood in 2020 alone. Thirteen suicides, five murders, and eleven unresolved cases. The military is continually investigating deaths at Fort Hood.
The profile also cites the 2016 case of Staff Sergeant Devin Schuette. He reportedly killed himself by fitting an exhaust pipe into his car and suffocating himself on carbon monoxide. However, soldiers on the base found him with nine stab wounds across his body, prompting an investigation into his death.
Similarly, Ruiz’s mother does not believe her death was a suicide. “I refuse to think that it was. She wasn’t like that. I don’t accept that,” she said to Univision. Despite Ruiz saying she wanted to die, her mother believes her daughter’s death is another covered-up murder at Fort Hood.
For the time being, her parents are focusing on remembering her for who she was. “She was a brave, strong, upright woman, an indomitable woman. Tenacious, capable, brave. A woman sure of herself,” her father said.
“I can’t talk about her in the past tense… I’m always going to talk about her in the present tense. The prettiest woman. My first big love. The first that occupied my womb,” her mother added.