BELL COUNTY — The search for missing Fort Hood Pfc. Vanessa Guillen may be over.
Partial human remains found in the area prompted the Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Texas Rangers, the FBI, the Bell County Sheriff’s Department and Texas EquuSearch to return Tuesday to an area near the Leon River where a search for missing Guillen occurred last week.
“Due to extensive investigative work conducted by special agents from the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, agents have returned to an area of interest close to the Leon River, Bell County, Texas, for more investigative work in the search for Pfc. Vanessa Guillen,” Chris Grey, U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command spokesman, said in a statement.
“After receiving additional information, agents have discovered what has been described as partial human remains after analysis from a forensic anthropologist,” Grey said. “Army CID agents are currently on scene with the Texas Rangers, the FBI and Bell County Sheriff’s Department. No confirmation as to the identity of the remains has been made at this point and we ask for the media and public’s understanding that the identification process can take time. Due to the ongoing criminal investigation, no further information will be released at this time.”
Texas EquuSearch Director Tim Miller told the Telegram that authorities believe the remains — found in a shallow grave — belong to Guillen, pending a positive identification. The grave was near the area where EquuSearch looked on June 22 near Little River-Academy.
Earlier in the day, Miller stressed that the search yielded some results.
“We’ve got three people up there now and I’m getting ready to pull out of my house as we speak,” Miller said. “I just would say to pay close attention because developments are happening as we speak.”
Maj. T.J. Cruz of the Bell County Sheriff’s Department said that law enforcement agencies were searching the area for evidence Tuesday.
“We are out here continuing the search,” Cruz said from the search area.
He said the Tuesday search resulted from a call from a nearby resident.
On June 21, about 30 volunteers, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife game wardens began a search along the Leon River. The search continued for several days until the operation was suspended Thursday.
DPS spokesman Sgt. Bryan Washko said that investigators returned to the area Tuesday and started their search about 11:30 a.m.
Three rewards were announced for credible information leading to the whereabouts of Guillen, who is from the Houston area. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command offered up to $25,000, the League of United Latin Citizens of American Citizens also offered $25,000 and Houston-based rapper Baby Bash said he would add $5,000.
U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Houston, hosted a news conference with Guillen’s family last Tuesday in the Southside parking lot of the Marvin Leath Visitors Center, 69004 Hood Road, calling for answers into her disappearance. Army investigators told the family that they suspected foul play.
Guillen disappeared April 22 and was last seen in the parking lot of her 3rd Cavalry Regiment headquarters. The Latina is described as 5 feet, 2 inches, 120 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. She wore a black T-shirt and purple fitness style pants when she was last seen at Fort Hood.