Vanessa Guillen Will Be Honored With a Portion of Harris County’s Highway 3 and an Upcoming Netflix Documentary About Her Life and Death
On October 8, a portion of Highway 3 in Texas’ Harris County will be renamed to honor Vanessa Guillen, an Army Specialist who was murdered by a fellow soldier at Fort Hood. Additionally, 20 muralists will each create an original piece in her honor to commemorate every year of her 20-year-long life.
According to ABC 13, Guillen’s family will join State Senator Carol Alvarado and State Representative Christina Morales in unveiling a sign officially renaming the stretch of Highway 3 between Interstate Highway 45 and Almeda Genoa Road, the Vanessa Guillen Memorial Highway.
Fox 43 reports that, in addition to the memorial highway and 20 murals honoring her life, legislators in Texas have unanimously approved a bill declaring September 30 as Vanessa Guillen Day. The decision has been embraced by the Houston Independent School District where Guillen graduated from César E. Chávez High School before enlisting in the Army.
Guillen’s death sparked a much-needed conversation about sexual harassment, assault, and misogyny in the US Military. Since her death two years ago, Guillen’s family has insisted time and time again that Vanessa had become a victim of sexual harassment at Fort Hood but feared retaliation if she were to speak out.
A subsequent investigation into Guillen’s disappearance became a matter of national attention and, by June 13, hundreds of protestors had gathered outside Fort Hood to demand more information about the case.
As of 2022, the only person who’s been charged in relation to her murder is Cecily Aguilar. At the time, Aguilar was dating Army Specialist Aaron Robinson and both of them hid Guillen’s body after Robinson murdered her with a hammer. Aguilar was apprehended after Guillen’s remains were discovered but Robinson killed himself before he could be taken into custody.
A report from the Texas Department of Public Safety revealed more about the motives behind Guillen’s murder, stating, “Aguilar later explained why Robinson killed Guillen, saying Guillen saw Robinson’s cellphone lock screen, which contained a picture of Aguilar.”
The report continued, “(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.” Authorities searched for Guillen’s body for more than a month before her remains were discovered along the Leon River on June 30, 2020.
In January 2022, President Biden, by way of Executive Order, singled out sexual harassment as an offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
We also learned that Netflix has produced a documentary about Guillen’s life and death, titled “I Am Vanessa Guillen” that will be available to stream on November 17.
According to My San Antonio, director Christy Wegener said, “Taking on the U.S. military, one of the largest, most powerful institutions in America is no easy feat. In making the film, it was incredible to witness a family in the most tragic moment of their lives put their grief aside, step out into the public arena and fight for the greater good.”
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