La Feria News

Community holds special vigil for fallen Fort Hood soldier

A candlelight vigil was held for Army Special Sergeant Vanessa Guillen on July 6 at La Feria’s Veterans Memorial. Photos: Billy Watson / LFN

By BILLY WATSON
LFN

LA FERIA – Communities around the state are mourning the death of 20-year-old Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen after her confirmed remains were found near Fort Hood.

La Feria residents did their part to honor the fallen soldier.

A candlelight vigil was held Monday, July 6, at the Veterans Memorial on Main Street in La Feria in remembrance of Guillen. Approximately 50 people showed up to the vigil, some with candles and others with flowers to offer.

Masks and social distancing were enforced during the vigil, which began with a prayer followed by a few speeches by the organizers, Maria Maldonado and Maria Rincon.

Maldonado, who said she had no relation to Guillen, said she did know her personally, but the news of Guillen hit her hard coming from the Army as well.

“It just kind of hit close to home,” Maldonado said. “I’ve been emotional since I found out about the whole remains and reading about what happened to her, how they did it. It broke my heart.”

Maldonado felt she had to hold a vigil rather than a protest because she said that is what Guillen deserves.

“I want her to rest in heavenly peace,” Maldonado said. “I want her to look down and see this. I just wanted to hold something positive. I know a lot of people are mourning because of this, and I wanted to give somebody this opportunity just to come out and do this because I know there aren’t too many vigils here in the Valley that are being held.”

Guillen, who went missing in April, was allegedly killed and dismembered by a fellow soldier Aaron Robinson, who took his own life when police confronted him. According to reports, before taking his own life, Robinson admitted to Cecily Aguilar that he bludgeoned Guillen with a hammer in April. Aguilar now faces federal charges of conspiracy to tamper with evidence and helping to mutilate and dispose of Guillen’s body.

Reports also state that Guillen had told her family that Robinson had sexually harassed her, but did not report him to her leaders for fear of negative repercussions.

Maria Rincon, one of the vigil’s organizers, holds a sign during the event, which was attended by about 50 people. Photo: Billy Watson / LFN
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