The death of a 20-year-old female U.S. Army private in Texas who recently told her family she was being sexually harassed did not involve foul play, officials said this week.
According to a press release, Pvt. Ana Basalduaruiz, a combat engineer who served with the 1st Cavalry Division for the last 15 months, was found dead Monday in a maintenance bay at the army base in Fort Hood, Texas. It’s the same base where 20-year-old Vanessa Guillén was murdered three years ago after similarly claiming she had been sexually harassed.
“The Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division officials have confirmed that at this point in the investigation into the death of Pvt. Ana Basalduaruiz, no foul play is evident and will remain under investigation,” a Thursday press release from the Fort Hood Press Center stated. “Army CID will continue to conduct a thorough investigation and gather all evidence and facts to ensure they discover exactly what transpired. Information related to any possible harassment will be addressed and investigated fully.”
Basalduaruiz told her family last month that she was being sexually harassed by at least one of her superiors at the base, according to a report from ABC News.
Fort Hood commander Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe ensured that the Army CID investigation is “not ruling anything out and will investigate the circumstances leading up to Ana’s death fully and completely” during a Friday news conference.
The CID conducts its investigations outside of Fort Hood’s chain of command. Bernabe also noted that authorities are keeping Basalduaruiz’s family updated on the investigation.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of PV2 Ana Basalduaruiz, and we extend our sympathies to her father, mother, and her sister,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, commander of the 91st Engineer Battalion. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time. She was an exceptional teammate that will truly be missed.”
Fort Hood was scrutinized after Guillén went missing on April 22, 2020. Her family said she told them about being sexually harassed and that she was afraid to report it. Her dismembered remains were not located for more than a month.
Investigators said that another soldier, Spc. Aaron David Robinson killed Guillén, then fled from the base and shot himself when confronted by law enforcement.
Robinson’s girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, later claimed that Robinson confessed to killing Guillén by repeatedly hitting her head with a hammer inside an arms room. Prosecutors said Robinson recruited her to help him dismember and hide Guillén’s remains. Aguilar pleaded guilty in November to one count of accessory to murder after the fact and three counts of false statement and faces up to 30 years in prison.
An independent review of Guillén’s death resulted in 14 senior leaders at the Fort Hood base being removed from their posts.
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