A tip has led authorities to Leon River in Bell County in the ongoing search for missing Fort Hood soldier and Houston resident Vanessa Guillén, according to Texas EquuSearch founder Tim Miller.
EquuSearch has been assisting multiple agencies in the search efforts, including The Fort Hood Army Criminal Investigation Division Command and the Texas Rangers. Miller said searchers had come up empty as of Monday evening.
He said authorities had been searching the area since receiving the tip Sunday, but he could not release any details, citing the ongoing investigation.
“It was certainly good enough (information) that everyone thought there was some credibility to it,” he said.
Guillén, a private first class, was last seen around 1 p.m. April 22 in the parking lot of her barracks at the base in Killeen, about 190 miles northwest of downtown Houston. Gloria Guillén, the soldier’s mother, said that her daughter told her that a sergeant had sexually harassed her at the base.
Fort Hood has since initiated an internal investigation into those allegations, according to earlier reports.
The Leon River stems from Belton Lake, one of the closest bodies of water to the base. Teams had previously searched the lake using sonar equipment, Miller said. Drones and canines have also been used in the search effort, he added.
Guillen’s case has gained national attention from high-profile figures such as actress and filmmaker Salma Hayek, who last week wrote a heartfelt Instagram post calling for the soldier’s safe return. Also, U.S. Rep. Sylvia Garcia publicly called for transparency in the Army’s investigation.
Guillén’s family on Tuesday will join Garcia on the base to discuss the investigation with military officials, according to Garcia’s spokesman Robert Julien. Garcia will be available to the media after the meeting, he said.
Additionally, the League of United Latin American Citizens is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to discovery of the soldier. The Army has raised its reward to $25,000, and Houston rapper Baby Bash pledged a $5,000 reward in a Facebook post.
©2020 the Houston Chronicle
Visit the Houston Chronicle at www.chron.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.