NEW: Weeks ago, I set out to answer the question, “What’s going on at Fort Hood?”

That question evolved again and again, and has resulted in what I hope gives another window into who Vanessa Guillén was, what happened to her & what it means for the Army.…
A little about Vanessa: She had a contagious smile, everyone loved her. She was planning to go to college, maybe Texas A&M, get married, and someday become a mom.

Her sister Lupe told me: “You know how they say no one’s perfect? Vanessa, she was...the definition of perfection."
Near the end of last year, though, her family could tell something was wrong.

She had bags under her eyes, her hair looked thin, she'd lost weight. She wasn't smiling anymore. Her mom kept pushing her to tell her what was wrong, and she eventually did.
She told her mom she was being sexually harassed, Lupe said.

“She told my mom, ‘I can’t report it, I’ve seen other girls pass through the same situation and they ignore them. They say that they’re lying. They don’t listen to them.’”
While her mom urged her to “rip up her [Army] contract in front of them and come back home," Lupe said, Vanessa assured her that she would take care of it herself.
Months later, on the weekend of April 19, it seemed like maybe she'd turned a corner. Lupe said that Vanessa seemed to be her normal happy self again when she left to go back to Fort Hood.

That was the last time she saw her sister. Three days later, Vanessa was gone.
The Army's investigation command has since been criticized for appearing to not move fast enough in their search.

They don't agree; a CID spokesman said they conducted over 300 interviews, tracked down 250 tips, and put in "over 14,600 investigative man-hours."
And Fort Hood's leadership has been criticized for failing to communicate.

Vanessa's family and her family's attorney have said repeatedly that they felt they weren't getting the full story, that leaders were "evasive."
A soldier currently at Fort Hood told me that while authorities searched for Vanessa, the “big push from command channels” was to make sure the “reward posters were…posted everywhere, so we looked good.”

“But besides that, honestly, it was like it wasn’t even happening.”
Since Vanessa's death, several investigations have been announced into Fort Hood, its leadership, the Army's sexual harassment prevention program, and more.

This story is far from over.

Vanessa's family only hopes that at the end of the day, they'll see change.
Lupe said that when Vanessa joined the Army, she told her family she wasn't afraid of going into combat because if she died there, "she died for a reason."

“The reason was ... to serve the country that gave my parents opportunities, that gave Vanessa opportunities," Lupe said.
But "she was murdered on base, and there hasn’t been change," Lupe said, adding that Vanessa's death "could have been prevented if the change" they're now seeking had only come earlier.

“My sister could have been here, right next to me.”…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Haley Britzky

Haley Britzky Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @halbritz

29 Mar 19
NEW: Military housing providers have been asking residents to sign NDAs in order to settle housing issues. The services are aware of it & in at least one case with the Navy, the service was the one who suggested it.

Davidson, a Marine Corps wife, has been fighting Patrician Management since 2016. She repeatedly said her home’s air ducts had mold — they repeatedly said there was not

When she was pregnant, her doctor said her white blood cell count was too high. He worried she'd lose the baby
"He asked me if I was working with chemicals. I said, 'No,'" Davidson said. "And then I pulled out my phone and said 'But look at this. Could this be it?' And I showed him a picture of the inside of our [air] ducts, and he said 'Well, absolutely.'"
Read 10 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!