Female accuser found dead at Fort Hood, military investigates
Female Army Private Ana Basalduaruiz was found dead last Monday in Fort Hood, Texas. The 20-year-old soldier and combat engineer had previously complained about sexual harassment on the Army base.
She is the second female soldier to die on the base under similar circumstances.
According to the Spanish news network Noticias Telemundo, Basalduaruiz’s body was found in a maintenance bay and initial details point to a possible suicide.
The network also reported that Basalduaruiz had repeatedly complained about sexual harassment from her peers and superiors to her family.
Basalduaruiz served with the 1st Calvary Division for 15 months prior to her death and is not the first female soldier to complain about inappropriate behavior on the base.
In fact, Fort Hood is far from being a stranger to controversy and has a history of “homicide, suicide, and sexual assault” among troops. Over the last five years alone, there have been 50 suicides and 11 homicides reported.
The Army Criminal Investigation Division is “actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding her death.”
Not the First Incident
In April 2020, Specialist Vanessa Guillen was murdered on the same base after also expressing concern about sexual harassment. Her body was found in a shallow grave the day before she was to file a formal report.
Following the discovery of Guillen’s body, 14 senior officers of the Army were either relieved or suspended from their roles. The main suspect, Specialist Aaron Robinson, killed himself shortly after being confronted by the police.
The chaotic situation forced the Army to implement various policy changes and establish an independent office for investigating sex crimes.
Although Fort Hood initially did not comment on the sexual harassment allegations, on Wednesday, the Army released a statement saying, “any possible harassment will be addressed and investigated fully,” without confirming the cause of death.
It wasn’t until Friday that a more formal statement was made by Fort Hood commander Lieutenant General Sean Barnabe, with him noting that the criminal investigation division is “not ruling anything out and will investigate the circumstances leading up to Ana’s death fully and completely.”
He also added that “we do not tolerate harassment of any type.”
In addition, Colonel Christopher Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, expressed his condolences, saying, “A loss of any one of our Soldiers is a tragedy. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Ana.”
Fort Hood has promised to continue to stay “in contact with her family to keep them updated, receive any concerns, and provide them all releasable information.”
Although the investigation is still ongoing, no foul play is currently suspected surrounding Basalduaruiz’s death.