WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump told the family of murdered Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen on Thursday that he would help them get her remains and also offered to help with funeral costs.
Vanessa’s family met with President Trump after marching from the U.S. Capitol to the White House on Thursday to show support for the #IAmVanessaGuillen bill. The family is also demanding a congressional investigation into Fort Hood, which they criticized for its handling of Guillen’s death.
“You have our support and we’re working on it already, as you know,” said President Trump. The president confirmed the FBI and the Department of Justice are involved with the investigation.
The president also seemed surprised to learn the family has yet to hold a funeral service because her remains have not been released by investigators. Trump promised to help the family receive Vanessa’s remains as quickly as possible and offered to pay for her funeral services. Since Vanessa was a member of the military, the family does not expect to incur funeral costs.
The #IAmVanessaGuillen bill, if approved, would allow members of the military to report allegations of harassment to an independent agency, instead of reporting it to a superior.
Guillen’s family has stated that she feared retaliation if she reported sexual harassment against her superior. She disappeared in April and it was more than two months before her remains were found in Bell County.
“This will save lives. Our military deserves better. They deserve to be protected. They fight for us everyday. We fight for them,” said Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam during rally outside the U.S. Capitol.
Lupe Guillen, Vanessa’s 16-year-old sister, cried as she spoke about missing her sister and the importance of carrying on Vanessa’s legacy to protect other military members.
“This is for Vanessa,” she said. “Her leadership has to be held accountable… they didn’t protect my sister. They didn’t respect my sister. Instead they killed her. They sexually harassed her.”
U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia is working with the Guillen family on the bill, which will be introduced on Thursday. It was also reported the family would meet with President Trump.
“We will not let this go,” said Khawam. “We are here to demand justice for Vanessa.”