The League of United Latino American Citizens (LULAC) today demanded an independent investigation into the death of soldier Ana Basaldua Ruiz at Fort Hood, Texas, where she was stationed for the past 15 months.
“Those responsible for the death of Basaldua Ruiz must be held accountable,” LULAC president Domingo García said in a statement.
Basaldua, 21, born in Mexico and a naturalized US citizen, was found dead Monday at a maintenance facility at the military base where, in 2020, the soldier Vanessa Guillén was assassinated.
In statements to the Telemundo network, the soldier’s relatives indicated that in the week before her death, Basaldua had complained of sexual harassment by comrades and an officer.
In a statement Thursday, the US Army said the Army Criminal Investigation Division, which is conducting an investigation “so far,” had found no criminal evidence in the soldier’s death.
It’s unclear if Basaldua made any formal allegations of sexual harassment in the 15 months she was assigned to Fort Hood.
Garcia said that Basaldua “should not have suffered the treatment that his relatives have talked about.”
“LULAC demands action and will not stop until the full truth of what happened comes out,” he added. “We ask that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conduct an investigation in this case, independent of the Army.”
For her part, Analuisa Tapia, director of LULAC in Killeen (Texas), said that “this latest death is an all too well-known reminder of what happened to Vanessa Guillén. There can be no reason why there are soldiers still subjected to sexual harassment.” .
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Private Ana Basaldua Ruiz and express our condolences to her father, mother and sister,” said Lt. Col. Patrick Sullivan, commander of the 91st Engineer Battalion, which is part of the 1st Cavalry Division.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time,” added the military official.
Reports of sexual assaults increased in 2021 among the military. According to figures from the Defense Department, a total of 8,866 complaints of sexual assault were received that year, an increase of 1,050 from the 7,816 received in 2020.
The largest increase in reports of sexual assault occurred in the US Army with 25.6%.
Fort Hood, located about 112 kilometers north of Austin, occupies an area of 860 square kilometers.
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