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Army to recommend independent investigation into Vanessa Guillen murder, congresswoman says

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AUSTIN, Texas (WFLA) — The Army has agreed to recommend an independent and thorough investigation into the murder of a young Army specialist at Fort Hood, according to a Texas congresswoman.

Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) and members of the League of United Latin American Citizens met with U.S. Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy on Friday to discuss Vanessa Guillen’s murder and call for an independent investigation.

Guillen went missing from Fort Hood in April. Her remains were found last week near a river in Texas.

Some lawmakers earlier this week called for independent investigations into her murder and said the accusations that she was being sexually harassed at Fort Hood highlight the need for changes in how the military handles such cases.

After meeting with the Army secretary on Friday, Rep. Garcia said he agreed to recommend to the Department of Defense a full independent investigation into the murder. Garcia said the secretary also has named a panel of experts to address sexual harassment and look at the culture of Fort Hood to figure out how they can do better.

“We’ve seen thousands of soldiers posting their moments where they had uncomfortable situations during their service,” Rep. Garcia said, referring to the #IAmVanessaGuillen movement on social media.

LULAC’s National President Domingo Garcia, who was also in the meeting with McCarthy said he felt the message they brought to Washington was heard.

“All of you who marched, who protested, who held vigils throughout America for Vanessa Guillen – those voices have been heard here in Washington, D.C.,” he said.

“When a woman puts on the uniform and agrees to serve her country and takes that oath, she should be treated equally to the men in the Army,” he added. “And when they’re not, and when they’re abused and their cries for help are not heard, there’s a definite problem.”

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