The Army is investigating the death of yet another female soldier who complained about sexual harassment at Fort Hood, roughly three years since the similar death of Vanessa Guillén.
According to investigators, no foul play is suspected in the March 13 death of 21-year-old Private Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz, a combat engineer who served with the division for the past 15 months, ABC News reports.
Victim’s Mother Says She Told Her Last Month That Army Superior, Other Individuals “Were Harassing Her”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of PV2 Ana Basalduaruiz, and we extend our sympathies to her father, mother, and her sister,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, commander, 91st Engineer Battalion. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time. She was an exceptional teammate that will truly be missed.”
Relatives of the 21-year-old were told that Ana died by suicide, but few details have been provided to the family. Ana’s mother, Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, says that Ana told her last month that an Army superior “was harassing her” and that she allegedly received constant sexual advances from other individuals.
Fort Hood says that “Army CID will continue to conduct a thorough investigation and gather all evidence and facts to ensure they discover exactly what transpired. Information related to any possible harassment will be addressed and investigated fully.”
Victim’s Death Mirrors That Of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén, Who Was Also Harassed And Killed At Fort Hood
Basalduaruiz’s story disturbingly recalls that of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén, who was murdered at the same base after similarly being sexually harassed by another soldier.
That soldier ended up killed himself while being pursued by police. A report released almost a year after Guillén’s death confirmed that she had been sexually assaulted by her superior.
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On Thursday, an autopsy will be conducted on Basalduaruiz’s body, according to her aunt Itzi Ortega.
The family of Pvt. Ana Basalduaruiz, 21, a combat engineer who died at Fort Hood in Texas, is demanding answers after U.S. Army investigators said that no foul play was evident.
Fort Hood is the same base where Vanessa Guillén was murdered in 2020.
— Ryan Shead (@RyanShead) March 17, 2023
Her family revealed that they won’t be privy to any information on her death until an investigation into the incident is complete.
Department Of Defense Reports Increase In Women Reporting Sexual Harassment From 2018-2021
The Department of Defense reported 29 percent of women and 7 percent of men experienced sexual harassment during the fiscal year 2021.
That makes for an increase when compared to the last report on fiscal year 2018, where 24 percent of women said they had dealt with sexual harassment.
Her aunt said that Basalduaruiz joined the military in 2020, however she didn’t begin basic training until August 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ABC News reports.
Meanwhile, Vanessa Guillén’s sister Mayra posted about Basalduaruiz’s death on Twitter, and said she would be speaking to the family soon.
“I’m aware of the death of Ana Basaldua in Ft Hood, TX. May she Rest In Peace. She was only 21 years old … I will be speaking to the family soon, I find it very sensitive to speak on something I’m not fully aware off yet and this is also very triggering for me … I need to gather my thoughts and then I’ll be able to share them,” she said in a Tweet.