The League of United Latin American Citizens is calling for an external investigation into the death of a 21-year-old female soldier, as the army says there is no evidence of foul play surrounding the woman’s death.
Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz was found dead last Monday of an apparent suicide. She had previously complained to family members that she had been subjected to sexual harassment and unwanted sexual advances at Fort Hood. LULAC spokesperson Analuisa Tapia spoke at a press conference on Friday.
“She is equally concerned by the reports from her family that their daughter was subjected to repeated sexual harassment, which calls for an immediate, full and transparent investigation into these allegations. This investigation must start now. It must be by an external authority,” Tapia said
At a news conference earlier in the day at Fort Hood, Gen. Sean C. Bernabe said their investigation had found no evidence of foul play.
“ At this point in the investigation, there are no indications of foul play. So the idea doesn’t rule anything out and will investigate the circumstances leading up to Ana’s death completely and utterly.”
Basaldua Ruiz’s death has some parallels with the 2020 passing of Army Spc. Vanessa Guillén. Guillén disappeared from Fort Hood after telling family she had been sexually harassed. Her body was found two and a half months later in a rural area 30 miles from the post. The soldier suspected of the killing took his own life shortly afterwards.
An independent review panel later found Fort Hood to be a “permissive environment for sexual assault and sexual harassment” and pointed out serious structural flaws in the Army’s prevention program. The Guillén case sparked a national conversation about sexual violence in the military — and legislation to change how it is handled.