Things That Matter

Vanessa Guillen’s Sister Appeared On The Red Table Talk: The Estefans— ‘We still don’t know the truth’ about her death

Updated October 28, 2020.

Months have passed since the remains of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen were found buried along the Leon River in Texas on June 30. Now, speaking out on the latest episode of “Red Table Talk: The Estefans” Guillen’s mother and sisters revealed that they are still facing so many unanswered questions. In a sit-down talk with the Grammy-winning music legend Gloria Estefan, her daughter Emily Estefan and niece Lili Estefan, Guillen’s sister, Lupe Guillen shared that she is faced to ask questions about her sister’s disappearance every single day.

Lupe Guillen explained to the Estefans that these days her biggest questions are “Why?

“We still don’t even know the truth, why would they do this to an innocent person? … killed her and after she’s killed, just do all that stuff to her (that) I can’t even say,” Lupe Guillen, told the Estefans.”Why? That’s my question every single day, why? Why? Why her? And I ask to God: ‘¿Por qué ella? ¿Por qué de todos los que existimos, por qué le hicieron eso a ella?’

Guillen’s disappearance and death sparked concern amongst Latino communities across the country. After pushinig for an investigation after her disappearance and demanding reform in the ways in which the military addresses sexual harassment, Guillen’s mom told Gloria Estefan she noticed a change in Vanessa’s weight loss and mental state a few months before she disappeared. Talking to her daughter, Guillen says Vanessa revealed a culture of sexual harassment on the military base.

“Acosan a las muchachas y no dicen nada por miedo.” said Gloria Guillen, recalling a conversation with her daughter.

The latest episode of the Estefans featuring the Guillen’s premieres Wednesday at noon ET and 9 a.m. PT on Facebook Watch. 

A string of disappearances and deaths have been tied to Fort Hood, the United States Army post located in Killeen, Texas leading to a series of investigations and inquiries.

In August, police found the body of Fort Hood resident Sgt. Elder Fernandes near a railroad. Fernandes had been missing for almost two weeks before his body was discovered. It is believed that the missing Fort Hood soldier reported an instance of sexual abuse just before his disappearance.

Temple police received a call on Tuesday evening requesting medical assistance at the site of a railroad where a man was found dead. When officials arrived at the scene they determined that the man, now identified as Fernandes, had been dead for some time.

According to Natalie Khawam, a spokesperson for Fernandes’ family, the Army alerted them of the police’s discovery. Khawam confirmed that his body had been found hanging from a tree. At the scene, police were able to recover Fernandes’ backpack and were able to identify him by using his driver’s license. “Temple police have requested an autopsy and now await forensic identification,” Khawam explained according to People. Police have stated there is currently no foul play suspected in his death.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Fernandes family during this challenging time,” Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds said in a statement.

Fernandes was a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist who was last seen on Aug. 17.  

Two days later, after the Fernandes family struggled to get ahold of him, they reported him missing to the police. According to CNN, Lt. Col. Chris Brautigam, a 1st Cavalry Division public affairs officer stated that there is an “open investigation of abusive sexual contact” concerning Fernandes and he has been listed as a victim in the inquiry.

Fernandes’s death is only the latest in other disappearances and deaths connected to the base this year.

Earlier this year in May, Pfc. Brandon Scott Rosecrans was found fatally shot on the side of a road. He was 27-years-old. Twenty-eight-year old Brandon Michael Olivares has been accused of killing him in August. Police say Olivares and Rosecrans, a National Defense Service Medal recipient, were driving together in Rosecrans’ Jeep Renegade before he had been shot. His Jeep was found on fire soon after police discovered his body about four miles away from the site of Rosecrans’ body. According to a criminal affidavit, Olivares killed Rosencrans in a dispute over a gun sale.

Olivares is currently being held on a $1 million bond.

Over the summer, parts of Fort Hood soldier Pfc. Vanessa Guillen‘s body was discovered in a river.

Guillen’s body was discovered in a shallow grave by a River in Bell County in June. Soon after, Spc. Aaron David Robinson (who had been suspected in her killing) 20, died by suicide.

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