He was silenced as part of a cover up, Gloria Estefan was told in a heartbreaking episode.
Vanessa Guillen's killer did not die by suicide, her mother believes.
In a heartbreaking episode of Red Table Talk on Wednesday, Gloria Guillen told Gloria Estefan that she thinks Aaron David Robinson was silenced as part of a cover up.
"I don't think he committed suicide. I think someone set him up so he wouldn't speak," she said through tears. "I want to see proof that the coward committed suicide. I want to see videos and I want to see where he's buried. Because he knew something."
The emotional edition saw Estefan hosting the Guillen family at her home, as they described the agony of waiting two months before the body of the missing soldier was eventually found.
"I'm asking everyone to watch this Red Table Talk. There's a family that needs us, and we are not going to let them down. The story you are about to hear will shake you to you core," Estefan said at the top — and she wasn't exaggerating.
She learned how Vanessa's mom was told that her daughter wouldn't survive past her first few days having been born with a breathing problem, but she fought through it; and how she knew she wanted to defend her country from the age of ten, despite her mother's opposition.
"'But they are all men,' I'd tell her," Gloria recalled of their conversation "'No mom, we are all equal here,'" Vanessa had replied.
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"I said 'for the love of God, don't enlist, because my mother's intuition tells me it won't go well.'"
And her intuition proved right: In March both Vanessa's mother and her sisters began to notice a personality change. The normally happy and upbeat 20-year-old wasn't sleeping or eating, and was losing weight.
After pressing her for weeks, she refused to say what was bothering her, insisting she swore an oath not to speak ill of the military; until one day — a Saturday her mother said she will never forget — Vanessa finally relented.
"Okay I'll tell you, but don't get upset," Vanessa told her mother. "I don't like Fort Hood. They're very bad. There has been ten suicides. They shoot themselves either here," she said, pointing a finger to her forehead, and then to her temple, "or here."
"They kill themselves because they can't handle the pressure there. It's the worst base that I have ever known, and the most disgusting one. They harass girls and they don't speak up out of fear."
Indeed to date there has been 28 deaths at the Fort Hood base in Texas this year alone — only one of which was combat related. Eight died in accidents, seven died by suicide, five were undetermined, and five were homicides — and Vanessa had no idea at that stage she would soon be among the grim tally.
She told her mother she was being sexually harassed, and there was nothing she could do about it.
"I cant speak up. Mom there are numerous women. There are countless women reporting it, and they just get laughed at," Gloria recalled being told.
Her mother demanded his name, but she wouldn't reveal it, saying she had swore an oath, and that it was pointless anyway.
"She said they won't listen to you because the jurisdictions of the army are very different from civilian jurisdictions," Gloria said, adding her daughter told her: "I already went to the police and they said I was a liar. What happens here stays on the base."
Investigators say Vanessa Guillén was bludgeoned to death with a hammer inside an armory at Fort Hood by fellow soldier Aaron David Robinson on April 22 — but the horrific timeline took two more months to emerge. Her dismembered, burnt and buried remains were not found until June 30.
Despite being ordered to remain at the base after falling under suspicion, Robinson managed to slip out. While being approached by police in Killeen Texas in the following hours, officers say he shot himself dead. But Gloria isn't convinced.
"That bastard took a hammer to her face. He couldn't have cleaned it up in 20-25 hours," she said. "There had to be someone else there. No fingerprints. It was a cover up. I don't believe anything they say. There are secrets that will be revealed."
She said an anonymous source inside the base contacted her and told her cameras had been switched off the day Vanessa was murdered.
"'Your daughter was kidnapped on orders from higher up'," she said she was told. "'There is something very wrong going on in here.' Many women have been raped there. My daughter was killed because she knew something very big was going on at the base."
Robinson's girlfriend Cecily Aguilar, the estranged wife of another soldier, is accused of helping him cover up the crime and disposing of the corpse — and Gloria believes she knows more too.
"That miserable woman Cecily who is rotting there in jail. I'm sure she knows something," she said. "May God touch her heart so she speaks up, she should speak up and regret what she did."
"And I plead that she remain in prison for life. Because there's nothing that will bring back my daughter."
Vanessa's devastated sister Lupe pointed to the hypocrisy of the military's closed ranks.
"Imagine how many cases that haven't been reported, they don't have a voice," she said. "Once you report it they call you unloyal, they bully you... you're supposed to be a brother and sisterhood; but if it's brother and sisterhood, why are you all harassing women and men? That's not how it should work."
The family attorney Natalie Khawam closed out the emotional half-hour, calling on the public to press their Senators and Representatives to demand the I Am Vanessa Guillen Bill be passed, which will allow servicemen and women to confidentially report sexual harassment to an independent third party, and not a unit superior... who in some cases are also the perpetrators.
She said the existing Feres Doctrine forbids service members from suing the Federal Government; "It could be a tour, it could be malpractice — it could be sexual assault. You don't have any rights."
"They are serving our country. We can't abandon them. You're stuck for four years there — you can't quit just because you are sexually assaulted."