KEY POINTS

  • Vanessa Guillen's family said the suspect who killed himself when confronted by police was involved in her disappearance from Fort Hood in April
  • The suspect, whose name hasn't been released, shot himself when local and federal authorities confronted him in Killeen, Texas
  • The attorney for Guillen's family has been critical of the Army's handling of the disappearance and accusations of sexual assault by Vanessa Guillen before then

The family of Vanessa Guillen, the Fort Hood soldier whose suspected remains were found Tuesday after a near-three month search, said Wednesday that a suspect who committed suicide when confronted by police was connected to her disappearance. Guillen’s family was joined by their attorney, Natalie Kahwam, at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

“We believe that the suspect had killed himself in the morning,” Kahwam said. “And that, unfortunately, does not provide us much information about how this happened, why this happened. About why a beautiful young soldier is not with us today.”

The suspect in the case, whose name has not been released, was confronted by local police, U.S. Marshals, and Fort Hood investigators in Killeen, Texas, around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command said the authorities had been searching for the man after he fled from the base earlier in the day.

“As officers attempted to make contact with the suspect, the suspect displayed a weapon and discharged it towards himself,” Killeen police said in a public statement. “The suspect succumbed from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Vanessa’s Guillen sister, Mayra, said she had previously met the same suspect. At the time, she said she didn’t know he allegedly had anything to do with her sister’s disappearance until learning of his suicide.

“I felt something was telling me that he did something and I wasn't wrong apparently. He still had the nerve that day to laugh in my face,” Mayra Guillen told reporters. “And apparently now, he kills himself. Why? I don't know. But whoever is responsible has to pay and we demand a Congressional investigation.”

Criminal Investigation Command said another suspect, said to be a civilian and estranged wife of a former Fort Hood soldier, was in custody at Bell County Jail.

Kahwam has also been critical of the U.S. Army for its handling of both Vanessa Guillen’s case and allegations she was being sexually harassed before she disappeared.

“The facts aren't good. I don't like them,” Kahwam said Tuesday. “There were a few incidents where she had told her colleagues, her friends, her family about being sexually harassed but she was afraid to report it. How does someone disappear on a base that has more protection and safeguards than anyone else on the planet?”

Fort Hood The main gate at the U.S. Army post at Fort Hood, Texas, is pictured in this undated photograph, obtained on Nov. 5, 2009. Photo: REUTERS/III Corps Public Affairs/U.S. Army/Handout