Vanessa Guillen

Officials, Grievers Gather in Pilsen to Remember Vanessa Guillen Sunday

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A small group gathered in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood Sunday for a vigil to remember soldier Vanessa Guillen, who died earlier this year.

The group held a vigil at 16th Street and Loomis Street around 6 p.m. to honor the life of Guillen, a soldier allegedly murdered at Ford Hood.

Rep Chuy Garcia, Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez, artist Milton Coronado and female veteran Alejandra Gacia gave speeches, as many placed candles in front of a large mural of the 20-year-old Army Specialist.

"She should have been protected," Garcia said. "And this should never happen again. It is clear that sexual harassment and sexual assault is still too prevalent in the military, because even one case is one case, too many young women who pursue the military, as a career or for professional development, need to be respected and protected."

Unveiled Sunday, the mural was created to honor Guillen and raise awareness for sexual harassment in the military, according to the artist Milton Coronado.

Guillen went missing in April and authorities in Texas said the young woman was killed and dismembered.

The two suspects include, 20-year-old Aaron David Robinson of Calumet City, he died by suicide as law enforcement reached out to him.

The other, Robinson’s alleged girlfriend, is 22-year-old Cecily Aguilar.

A criminal complaint alleges Robinson bludgeoned Guillen with a hammer on the Texas military base and packed her into a container.

Aguilar is accused of helping Robinson mutilate and dumping Guillen’s remains about 20 miles from the base.

A group of Chicagoans, many service members themselves, gathered in July to demand answers.

“It’s not just a Fort Hood issue, it’s not just a Texas issue that other states and cities are with them and we’re all suffering with them," Eboni Davis said. "We feel their hurt, we feel their pain and we want answers just like they want answers.”

The group took over a portion of Humboldt Park outside of the Army National Guard building Friday.

“She’s not a soldier from Texas," added Garcia. "She’s a soldier of the United States of America, ok? It shouldn’t just be Texas lifting their voices to speak on her behalf, it should be everyone.”

The group of service members says it stands with the people in Texas, demanding answers as to who knew what and when following the murder of Army Specialist Vanessa Guillen.

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