Cecily Aguilar has confessed to helping Specialist Aaron Robinson hide Vanessa Guillén‘s remains following her murder in 2020. Aguilar is the only surviving defendant in the case. Specialist Robinson died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after law enforcement confronted him on July 1, 2020.

Aguilar reversed her initial plea in anticipation of a January 2023 trial

Aguilar initially pleaded not guilty to all charges. However, just a few weeks before an impending trial about the murder, Aguilar decided to change her plea to guilty. Aguilar faces one count of accessory to murder and three counts of making a false statement or false representation.

According to the Department of Justice, Aguilar faces up to 30 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $1 million fine. The DOJ also noted that a federal judge would reference the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and related statutes before determining Aguilar’s sentence.

The attorney representing the Guillén family, Natalie Khawam, said in a statement, “Cecily Aguilar’s guilty plea today was another step on the long path toward justice for Vanessa, my client, and her courageous family.”

The attorney took the Guillén family’s case free of charge in 2020 but has continued working with them.

“We were just looking for the day where she would just confess and admit to her crime, and the harm that was committed on this family,” she said to the New York Times. “Today’s admission to guilt provides us some relief.”

Vanessa’s sister Mayra added, “It gives me some comfort knowing that she’s admitting to what she did and she’s not going to keep fighting us, but definitely it’s not a closed case until the day of sentencing.”

Fort Hood was dangerous long before Vanessa Guillén was killed

Fort Hood has become notorious as one of the most dangerous Army bases in the United States.

The rates of murder, sexual assault, and harassment are among the highest on record. Fort Hood has dismissed or reprimanded 21 officials following Guillén’s murder. Additionally, the recent release of a report illustrated an ongoing disregard for Guillén’s complaints of sexual harassment.

Robinson killed Guillén on April 22, 2020 with a hammer before hiding her body in a box. He and Aguilar then mutilated her remains and disposed of them at the nearby Leon River. A construction crew later discovered the remains despite the fact that investigators had already searched the area.

However, investigators have yet to determine a motive

Robinson’s motives remain a mystery. But investigators did reveal that his girlfriend, Aguilar, was actually the wife of another soldier on the base. They are also trying to determine if the murder has anything to do with her repeated claims of sexual harassment.

However, Aguilar did note in her initial 2021 confession that “Guillén saw Robinson’s cellphone lock screen, which contained a picture of Aguilar,” according to a 2022 report from the Texas Department of Public Safety. “[Robinson] told her he was worried about getting in trouble for violating the Army’s fraternization rules since Aguilar was still married to another soldier and he hit Guillen in the head with a hammer,” the statement reads.

Even still, Guillén’s family doesn’t believe her. In response to the statement, Mayra said, “Cecily Aguilar will try everything in her power to walk freely as we are being denied the truth at this very moment.” She added, “My sister was a very responsible person, that would not meddle into Robinson’s and Aguilar’s alleged ‘relationship.'”

Vanessa Guillén’s family will continue to fight for justice

After Aguilar’s sentencing, the Guillén family plans to continue fighting not only for Vanessa but for all victims of sexual harassment and assault in the Army. The family already had a hand in passing legislation requiring a third-party investigator in cases of sexual harassment and assault complaints.

The recently released Netflix documentary, “I Am Vanessa Guillén,” details the family’s fight for justice. They plan to continue their work following Aguilar’s sentencing. Vanessa’s mother, Gloria told the New York Times, “I only ask God for true justice, because she’s not the only one responsible.”

She added, “I know there are more, and I hope to God that the truth comes to light.”