BELL COUNTY, Texas - The US Army says partial human remains have been found close to the Leon River in Bell County, an area of interest in the search for missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillen.
Army CID says no confirmation of the identity of the remains has been made at this point.
According to CID, due to "extensive investigative work," agents had returned to the area to conduct more investigative work. They discovered what has been described as "partial human remains" after analysis from a forensic anthropologist.
Agents are currently on scene with the Texas Rangers, the FBI, and the Bell County Sheriff's Office. CID says no other information will be released at this time.
Tim Miller of Texas Equusearch says the remains were found in a shallow grave near the river, and that the grave was so well concealed that the week prior, Equusearch, Texas Rangers, and military investigators with cadaver dogs all missed the grave.
He says they were “probably standing on top of [the grave]” when they found what he calls "evidence of Vanessa Guillen's disappearance" just three feet away.
"After we found that evidence, we just knew she had to be somewhere close," Miller said.
He says they believe animals helped unearth the grave. “How she was found, I'm a firm believer God had a hand in something on this.”
20-year-old Guillen was last seen April 22 between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Regimental Engineer Squadron Headquarters, 3rd Cavalry Regiment on Fort Hood, Texas and has not been heard from since.
Her car keys, barracks room key, identification card, and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier in the day. She was last seen in the parking lot wearing a black t-shirt and purple fitness-type pants.
The 3rd Cavalry Regiment commander, Col. Ralph Overland, recently appointed an investigating team led by a senior investigating officer (IO) to conduct a commander’s investigation, referred to as an “AR 15-6 Investigation” into allegations that Guillen was sexually harassed.
Ft. Hood officials said in a Facebook post that U.S. Army troopers with the 3rd Calvary Regiment searched for Guillen June 17-18 in the training area near the regiment area of operations and then expanded the search north, on the east side of the training area. Troopers searched buildings, barracks, fields, training areas, lakes, and trails.
Officials say Guillen is originally from Houston and an avid runner. She's described as being of Hispanic descent, five feet, two inches tall, 126 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Her Military Occupational Specialty is a 91F, Small Arms/Artillery Repairer.
A reward has also been doubled for help finding Guillen. The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) recently announced that they have agreed to match the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's $25,000 reward. The combined reward is now $50,000.
Guillen’s story has prompted hundreds of women to share their own experiences with sexual misconduct in the military on social media, using the hashtag #iamvanessaguillen.
The lawyer for Guillen's family, Natalie Khawam, will be holding a press conference in Washington D.C. at 11 a.m. tomorrow (7/1) in front of the Navy Memorial in Washington DC to discuss the latest in the search as well as to demand a Congressional investigation and discuss her proposed legislation to protect members of the U.S. military from sexual harassment and assault.