August 22, 2023
A woman has been sentenced this month for her involvement in the killing and dismemberment of U.S. Army Soldier, Vanessa Guillén.
U.S. Army Soldier Vanessa Guillén went missing in April 2020 from Fort Hood (now Fort Cavazos) in Killeen, Texas. She was officially reported missing on April 23, 2020. Her remains were discovered on July 3, 2020, by contract workers near the Leon River in Bell County, Texas. Her body had been dismembered and her remains burned.
Her family later told the media that Vanessa Guillén had been sexually harassed and assaulted before she went missing. The family also highlighted how female military personnel have fear of reporting said crimes and harassment against them. The case caught the attention of outraged people world-wide, including celebrities and politicians.
Guillén had last been seen walking to an arms room at Fort Hood in order to confirm serial numbers on weapons when she failed to return to her room.
She would never be seen alive again.
She was on her way to an arms room controlled by Specialist Aaron Robinson, one of the last of her fellow soldiers to see her that day. She left behind her personal items, such as her bank card, her army identification and car and barracks keys. During the search for Guillén, her cell phone was accessed and showed that the final message she had ever sent was to Robinson.
Robinson said that the pair were in communication regarding paperwork for a firearm that needed to be serviced and that she was supposed to hand off at the motor pool- but she never arrived. Robinson was later interviewed about his whereabouts that day where he claimed he finished up the tasks he had for the day before going to the home he shared with his girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar. But witnesses gave statements about Robinson that day that exposed some strange behavior.
They said they witnessed him exiting the arms room Guillén had been working in with a large, heavy tough box, which he loaded into his vehicle and drove off site with. Calls between Robinson and his girlfriend, when they were supposed to have been in the same house, at all hours of the night and day, were questioned by investigators. The couple’s excuses did not add up and Aguliar’s story began to change.
Cell phone data revealed that Robinson had been near a bridge in Belton, Texas, by the Leon River during the early hours of April 23, 2020, and had remained there for two hours. Aguilar’s cell phone revealed much of the same. Law enforcement searched the site and discovered a tough box, just like the one Robinson had been seen hauling into his vehicle on the day Guillén went missing, as well as earth that seemed to be burned. Human remains were later found by contract workers near the Leon River in Belton and determined to be the missing woman.
The US attorney’s office for the western district of Texas published a press release on July 2020, stating that a criminal complaint had been filed against Cecily Aguilar, 22, in connection with the disappearance of Vanessa Guillén. The complaint stated that Aguilar had been charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence and that she had assisted her then boyfriend, 20-year-old U.S. Army Specialist Aaron Robinson, with the dismemberment and disposable of Guillén's body.
The complaint also stated that Aaron Robinson had told Cecily Aguilar that on April 22, 2020, at Fort Hood, he had struck a "female soldier" in the head with a hammer, killing her. He told her that he had smuggled the female soldier’s body off Fort Hood and dumped her in a remote area of Bell County, California. Aguilar said she assisted Robinson in dismembering and burning Guillén’s remains.
The pair dismembered Guillén's body with hatchets and small machetes and made a failed attempt to burn the remains. They finally dug three holes where they placed the remains and concealed them with soil. They then left the scene only to later return, this time taking care to not leave behind any evidence that would link them to the crime, including wearing gloves as well as covers over their hair. After further dismembering the remains, using concrete purchased on Facebook Marketplace poured into the holes, they concealed what was left of the remains. Clothes worn during their efforts to dispose and conceal were later burned.
Text exchanges between Aguilar and Robinson show conversations between them regarding Guillén and the case; including Robinson sending screenshots of news articles pertaining to police discovering human remains. In one message to Aguilar, Robinson said: "Baby they found pieces, they found pieces.."
Aguilar assisted law enforcement in tracking down Robinson who by that point was fleeing on foot.
As they closed in on him Robinson committed suicide with a pistol he had on his person.
Cecily Aguilar was sentenced earlier this month to 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of accessory to murder after the fact, as well as three counts of false statement or representation.
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