AUSTIN’S TOP STORIES OF 2020: No. 4: Vanessa Guillen’s death leads to change at Fort Hood

Counting down Austin’s top stories 2020

We’re counting down Austin’s top stories of the year, as chosen by American-Statesman reporters and editors. Our countdown continues through Dec. 27. Today: No. 4

Army Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, 20, was last seen in the middle of a workday April 22 in a parking lot at Fort Hood, the nation’s largest military installation. For months, she remained missing — searches coming up empty as her family pressed the Army for answers at a series of rallies in Killeen and Austin.

Her dismembered remains were found in July near the Leon River. A soldier was implicated in her death but killed himself as authorities closed in.

Guillen’s family said she had been sexually harassed at Fort Hood, and several members of Congress demanded investigations into Guillen’s case as well as the Army’s handling of sexual misconduct investigations and instances of violence in and around Fort Hood.

As public outcry grew, the Army announced the removal of the post’s top commander, Maj. Gen. Scott Efflandt, and an independent investigation was deeply critical of the post’s leadership and its handling of Guillen’s case. By November, Fort Hood had renamed one the post’s gates in Guillen’s honor


Our countdown continues through Dec. 27. Read our recaps of stories previously in our countdown of Austin’s top news of 2020:

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