This week, a 21-year-old Long Beach native was killed in the line of duty at Fort Hood, the same Texas Army station where Vanessa Guillén, then 20, was killed nearly three years ago.
According to a statement released by the 1st Cavalry Division on Monday, Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz, a combat engineer, passed away. The message did not include information on the cause of de@th. Her Belmont Heights father, Ubaldo Basaldua, claims his daughter experienced sexual harassment.
The Army’s CIB is “looking into the facts and circumstances” of her de@th, the statement said. On Thursday, officials at Fort Hood stated they had found no indication of “foul play.”
“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,” Fort Hood said in Thursday’s statement.
Over the past 15 months, Basaldua Ruiz has worked for the division. Her dad said they had a conversation the day before she passed away. She was upset and exhausted, Basaldua reported. Basaldua broke down in tears as he recalled the final conversation he had with his daughter, claiming she had expressed sadness and frustration but that he had no reason to believe she would take her own life.
Her mother in Mexico, where Ana Fernanda was born, is unable to help either. She gave an interview to Telemundo, a network that is affiliated with NBC. They told me that Fernanda had hanged herself,” Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, Fernanda’s mother, recalled. But I have to say, it’s completely unthinkable to me.
Telemundo was told by Ana Fernandas’ unnamed pals on base that Ana was being sexually harassed by a supervisor. We are aware of various circumstances in Ana’s life that are unrelated to harassment, Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe stated. And I have faith that CID will look at those strains thoroughly.
The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) has called for a neutral third party to conduct an investigation.
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“A loss of any one of our Soldiers is a tragedy and it is no different in the de@th of Private Ana Basaldua Ruiz. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family, friends, and colleagues of Ana,”
According to Colonel Christopher Dempsey, head of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team in the 1st Cavalry Division. We have kept in touch with both of Private Basaldua Ruiz’s parents and will continue to do so.
Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, in an earlier statement, called Basaldua Ruiz “an exceptional teammate that will truly be missed.” The disappearance of Guillén from the base in April 2020 is roughly three years before her de@th. Two months later, Guillén’s body was discovered close to a river.
As police closed in on the soldier suspected in Guillén’s de@th, the soldier took his own life. His alleged girlfriend pled guilty to federal charges related to Guillén’s body disposal and lying to investigators in November.
Guillén told her family members that a supervisor had sexually harassed her before she vanished. The case of Guillén sparked a social media campaign by victims of sexual abuse and harassment in the military. A number of people have used the hashtag #IAmVanessaGuillén to talk about their experiences.
Fort Hood’s command climate encouraged sexual assault and harassment, according to an outside investigation. In December of 2020, after investigations concluded, 14 base chiefs were removed.
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