Vanessa Guillen’s death leads to change at Fort Hood Austin’s top stories

The best Austin stories through 2020 count

We’re counting down Austin’s Top Stories of the Year, selected by American Statesman reporters and editors. Our countdown is until December 27th. Today: No. 4

Army Pfc. 20-year-old Vanessa Guillen was last seen in the middle of a work day on April 22nd in a parking lot in Fort Hood, the country’s largest military facility. She went missing for months – the search was void when her family pushed the Army for answers at a series of rallies in Killeen and Austin.

Her dismembered remains were found near the Leon River in July. One soldier was implicated in her death, but killed himself when the authorities got closer.

July 19, 2020, Austin American-Statesman

Guillen’s family said they had been sexually assaulted at Fort Hood and several members of Congress called for an investigation into Guillen’s case and for the army to handle sexual misconduct and violence investigations in and around Fort Hood.

As public outcry increased, the Army announced the dismissal of the post in chief, Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, and an independent investigation deeply criticized the management of the post and the handling of Guillen’s case. By November, Fort Hood had renamed one of the post’s gates in Guillen’s honor.


Our countdown is until December 27th. Read our recaps of stories in our countdown of Austin’s top news of 2020:

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