Foul Play Suspected in Case of Solider Who Complained of Sexual Harassment Before Vanishing: Army
Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, vanished from Fort Hood soon after telling relatives a superior was sexually harassing her
Relatives of missing Army private Vanessa Guillen met with investigators at Fort Hood on Tuesday, and learned foul play is suspected in the 20-year-old soldier's disappearance.
During a press conference with the Guillen family, Rep. Sylvia Garcia explained that Fort Hood leadership "have used the words foul play" in discussions about the Texas woman's whereabouts.
"They are convinced now there's foul play involved and they are following all the leads that they can," Garcia told reporters.
Guillen, whose case was recently highlighted by actress Salma Hayek, has not been seen since April 22, as she was crossing a parking lot at squadron headquarters in Fort Hood.
The missing soldier, a small-arms repairer with the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, apparently told relatives that she was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at Fort Hood, prompting an investigation into the allegations.
According to an Army press release, Col. Ralph Overland last week appointed a team to conduct the sexual harassment investigation.
"I opened an investigation concerning the information provided by the Guillen family that Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was harassed prior to her disappearance," the statement quotes Overland as saying.
"I take allegations of sexual harassment very seriously and we are conducting a thorough investigation," Overland added.
The lead investigator has been tasked with gathering evidence and "thoroughly and impartially" considering it before presenting findings and recommendations.
On Tuesday, after their meeting at Fort Hood, Guillen's family questioned the timing of the Army's response.
"I still don't understand why it had to take a little more than six weeks for them to start taking action because we started since day one," said Vanessa's older sister, Mayra Guillen.
Outside Fort Hood on Tuesday, Vanessa's mother, Gloria Guillen, said that if it is discovered her daughter was harmed in any way, "close this base immediately."
She told reporters: "I want her alive, for the love of God. I need my daughter with me. She is my life. That's why I'm fighting until they bring her back and the people who are responsible pay."
The mother added: "Investigate from the top to the bottom ... everyone is responsible."
Officials said that Guillen's car and room keys were found in an armory room, along with her identification card and wallet.
She was last seen wearing a black T-shirt.
An avid runner, Guillen stands 5 feet 2 inches tall. She weighs an estimated 126 lbs. and has black hair and brown eyes.
Guillen also has three tattoos on her left arm.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
A $50,000 reward is being offered for information about Guillen's whereabouts.
Anyone with such information is urged to call Army CID Special Agents at (254) 495-7767 or the Military Police Desk at (254) 287-4001.