(KWTX/Gray News) - More remains were found Wednesday in the search for missing Fort Hood Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, who disappeared more than two months ago.
One suspect in her disappearance died of an apparent suicide and at least one other suspect is in custody.
Investigators found the additional remains Wednesday after returning to an area near the Leon River where partial remains were discovered Tuesday in a shallow grave. No positive identification has been publicly released.
Authorities returned to the site Wednesday morning to process the scene for evidence using drones and cadaver dogs while DNA and dental records are being used in an effort to identify the remains found Tuesday, officials said.
Early Wednesday, a Fort Hood soldier who was wanted in connection with Guillen’s disappearance shot himself to death as Killeen officers approached him, they said. Officials did not release the name of the soldier.
Texas Rangers arrested the estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier in connection with the disappearance. An attorney for Guillen’s family said Wednesday that a second suspect was in custody, as well.
Attorney Natalie Khawam said during a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., that evidence connects the remains to the missing soldier but provided no specifics.
Guillen’s sister Mayra, during the emotional news conference, said in Spanish she earlier met the man who committed suicide and said he laughed in her face when she asked about Guillen.
“We told command who we believed it was and why. From there the search went quicker.... Last night they issue a BOLO and that person ran off base and shot himself when they came up to him. This is the same person we have been talking about the superior who she was with that day and harassed her”
Her family called for a Congressional investigation into Fort Hood’s handling of Guillen’s disappearance.
They also called for changes to make it safer for soldiers to report sexual harassment and sexual assault. They were joined by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii.
A resident who smelled an unusual odor in the area Tuesday called the Bell County Sheriff’s Office, which found the remains in a shallow grave near where Texas Equusearch volunteers scoured the river earlier as part of their effort to find Guillen, 20, who disappeared April 22.
“The search is over,” the group’s founder, Tim Miller, told KWTX as he left to head for the scene.
Guillen was last seen in the parking lot of her 3rd Cavalry Regiment Engineer Squadron Headquarters.
Keys to her car and her barracks room and her ID card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she had worked earlier in the day.
“We have made significant progress in this tragic situation and are doing everything possible to get to the truth and bring answers to the family of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen,” Army CID spokesman Chris Grey said.
Killeen officers along with the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force and Fort Hood investigators were involved the search for the suspect, whom police found at around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in the 4700 block of East Rancier Avenue in Killeen.
As officers approached, the man produced a weapon and shot himself to death, police spokeswoman Ofelia Miramontez said.