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A Latina soldier found dead in Fort Hood who told her mother that she was being harassed: "She told me that very bad things were happening"


“He told me 'everyone wants me to sleep with them,'” says Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz's mother. The young woman had been at the Texan military base for two years, where soldier Vanessa Guillén was abused and murdered in 2020.

Soldier Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz, 21, was found dead this Monday in a maintenance bay at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, her family reported to Noticias Telemundo.

Those responsible for the base attributed her death in a preliminary way to suicide, according to her family.

In a statement sent to Noticias Telemundo, the military base reported: "Sadly, the First Cavalry Division lost trooper


Basaldua Ruiz, a combat engineer who served in the division for the last 15 months. The Army Criminal Investigation Division and the chain of command are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding his death. The chain of command is in contact with his family to update them and provide any information that may be released. In addition, it is providing support and resources to the family and the


who served with her.

Basaldua, born in Mexico and a naturalized American, had enlisted in the Armed Forces in 2020, although due to the coronavirus pandemic she began her military training a year later at the Texan military base.

She was going to fulfill her three-year contract in August, but, according to her father, she had recently told him that "she was no longer comfortable, that her whole life was wrong, that she wanted to die." The man, Baldo Basaldua, who lives in California, spoke to her for the last time on Saturday; on Sunday the young woman no longer answered her messages.

Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz, in an image provided by her family. Noticias Telemundo

“The next day [Monday March 13] I sent him messages and they didn't reach him anymore, the delivered one no longer appeared and I went to look for his [satellite] location and then it appeared that he was like in a park inside the base and that was it, I just put a message to her that the one who was going to die was going to be me of anguish, for not knowing anything about her, "he said.

At 11 a.m. on Monday, military representatives went to the restaurant where he works to inform him of his death.

His case joins a long list of deaths and violent acts in Fort Hood in recent years, among which the murder of soldier Vanessa Guillén stands out in 2020, which uncovered a scandal of sexual harassment and abuse in the Armed Forces. ;

That year alone, 23 deaths were recorded at the base, with 36,500 soldiers.

According to 2021 data, the Army's Criminal Investigations Division (CID) had investigated more than 50 suicides and 11 homicides at Fort Hood in the past five years.

"Everyone wants me to sleep with them"

Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, the young woman's mother, told Telemundo News that her daughter had told her a few weeks ago that an Army superior "was harassing her" and that she allegedly received constant sexual advances from other people on the base.

"He told me 'mom, everyone wants me to sleep with them, but they are pretty assholes,'" the woman explained on Wednesday.

Ruiz said she last spoke to her daughter on March 8.

“She told me that she was very sad, that a lot of very strong things were happening, that things were not as normal as I thought, that she couldn't tell me much, but that there was going to be a moment when we were going to be together and she I could say everything," she explained by phone from the Mexican state of Michoacán, where she lives with another daughter and where the young woman grew up before leaving for the US in 2020.

“[She told me] that she wanted to see me, that she wanted to hug me, and she wanted me to hug her a lot, like when she was little,” the mother said.

Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz (right), with her mother in an image provided by the family.Noticias Telemundo

The law 'I am Vanessa Guillén'

The brutal murder of 20-year-old Vanessa Guillén caused a social upheaval that led to the approval, following protests led by her family seeking justice in January 2022, of a law known as I am Vanessa Guillén to protect


 . victims of sexual violence in the Armed Forces.

Some of its measures had already been included in the $770 billion National Defense Authorization law that President Joe Biden signed in December 2021.

[The 6 errors in the Vanessa Guillén case: what went wrong in Fort Hood]

The reform included criminalizing sexual harassment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, improving the way officers respond to sexual assault crimes through independent investigations;

it also eliminated the power of commanders to decide which cases of inappropriate sexual conduct are tried;

and it excluded commanders from participating in investigations, requiring them to open independent investigations after receiving a formal complaint.

The law also created a mechanism

to track complaints of retaliation 

by victims of sexual abuse and refer decisions in these cases to special prosecutors.

Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz, with her father, Baldo Basaldua, in an image provided by the family.Noticias Telemundo

Guillén told family and colleagues at Fort Hood that she had been sexually harassed on base.

She was killed by military officer Aaron Robinson, 20, who shot himself when police went to arrest him in connection with the soldier's disappearance, authorities said in July 2020. Shortly after, a woman identified as his girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, was arrested on charges of helping Robinson dispose of Guillén's body.

She was the only person tried for the murder;

she in November 2022 she pleaded guilty and in April she could be sentenced to up to 30 years in prison.

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2023-03-15

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