Soldier search

A search for missing Army Pfc. Vanessa Guillen was conducted Monday off FM 436 near Little River-Academy.

A search for missing Army Pfc. Vanessa Guillen along the Leon River was suspended Thursday, Texas EquuSearch Director of Operations David White said.

“We were given a certain area by law enforcement and we have searched it about as thoroughly as we can,” White told the Telegram. “We suspended our search this morning.”

White said Texas EquuSearch will be on standby. The search along the Leon River began on Sunday when about 30 volunteers, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife stationed themselves off FM 436 near Wilson Valley Road in Bell County.

“We’re on standby but we will be back … when further developments give us somewhere to go look,” White said. “Right now, we’re as far as we can go. The investigation is ongoing and they will be calling us if something develops.”

State and local sexual assault advocates expressed concerns over the handling of Guillen’s case.

“We are deeply troubled by statements from Vanessa’s mother, who has said Vanessa was told her prior to her disappearance that she was sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at Fort Hood,” a Thursday news release from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, Families in Crisis, Inc., and Belton-based Aware Central Texas, said.

The organizations said they are equally disturbed with the military’s “inaction.”

“The United States Army took nearly two full months before launching a formal investigation in the sexual harassment allegations. This is unacceptable,” the release said. “We hold out every hope that Vanessa Guillen will be found.

Guillen disappeared April 22 and was last seen in the parking lot of her 3rd Cavalry Regiment headquarters. She wore a black T-shirt and purple fitness style pants when she was last seen.

There are currently three rewards announced for credible information leading to the whereabouts of Guillen. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is offering up to $25,000, League of United Latin Citizens of American Citizens is adding $25,000 and Houston-based rapper Baby Bash said he will add $5,000.