Family of Vanessa Guillén entitled to benefits after Army rules her death happened ‘in the line of duty’


FORT HOOD, Texas (KXAN) — An investigation by the U.S. Army determined Spc. Vanessa Guillén’s death in April happened “in the line of duty,” which now affords her family certain benefits.

According to a statement released by Fort Hood, the Army informed the Guillén family Tuesday on the results of the investigation. They are now entitled to receive assistance like “compensation to immediately help the family with expenses, funeral with full military honors, the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance, and final pay and allowances,” the statement said.

Authorities said another soldier killed Guillén at Fort Hood and disposed of her remains along the Leon River in Bell County. She would have turned 21 on Sept. 30.

The Army’s statement Tuesday noted leaders will remain in contact with the Guillén family “to keep them informed of the additional actions being taken at Fort Hood, and what policies are being revised to ensure Army culture continues to put people first and honors Vanessa’s life.”

Two members of Congress recently introduced a bill called the “I Am Vanessa Guillén Act,” which would make sexual harassment a crime within the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The bipartisan bill has at least 73 cosponsors. Guillén’s family claimed the man accused of killing her sexually harassed her before her death.

In July, U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy ordered an independent review of command climate at Fort Hood and said the investigation into the harassment claims were ongoing. In August, McCarthy said Fort Hood had one of the highest rates of murder, sexual assault and harassment in the Army and in September ordered that the investigation into Guillén’s case be expanded to the command’s response from the day she went missing to the day she was found.

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