Vanessa Guillén honored with post office renaming in southeast Houston

Courtney Carpenter Image
Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Vanessa Guillén honored with post office renaming in southeast Houston
A post office bearing Vanessa Guillén's name was dedicated Wednesday in honor of the Army Specialist, whose death led to changes in the military.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A U.S. post office in southeast Houston now bears the name of Vanessa Guillén, whose death led to major changes in the military.

The site, now called the Vanessa Guillén Post Office Building, is located at 5302 Galveston Rd. It's not far from Cesar Chavez High School, Guillén's alma mater.

The community was invited to join her family at a dedication ceremony.

"They refused to give up because it was justice that was at stake," said Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston). "Coming from Mexico to give their family a shot at the American dream they did just that, they fought... all in the name of Vanessa, and they never gave up."

Garcia first filed the legislation for the post office renaming on Sept. 30, 2020, on what would have been Guillén's 21st birthday.

President Biden made the request official, when he signed the legislation into law in January 2023.

"This month of April we don't only honor and remember Vanessa but also her life, her death anniversary and all the accomplishments we've achieved," wrote Mayra Guillén, Vanessa's sister.

SEE ALSO: Portion of Hwy 3 in Harris County to be named 'Vanessa Guillen Memorial Highway'

The Guillén family has stayed at the forefront of the fight for justice in their daughter and sister's name since her death four years ago.

Vanessa was killed while serving at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. She was only 20 years old.

She went missing from the base on April 22, 2020. After a 69-day search for answers and help, Vanessa was found dismembered and burned on June 30, 2020.

Specialist Aaron Robinson was identified as a person of interest in her death but died by suicide as authorities moved in on him

Robinson's girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar, was sentenced to 30 years in prison last year in Waco for her role in the murder. She admitted to helping Robinson dismember and dispose of the young woman's body near the Leon River.

A U.S. Army investigation found that Guillen was sexually harassed by a supervisor, but leaders in her unit did not take appropriate action after she stepped forward.

After her death, her family sought to reform the way the military handles sexual assault and harassment cases. It's led to the "I Am Vanessa Guillen Act."

"We're going to make sure that the changes are implemented, and that it's actually being taken serious and not just, 'Oh, here's the random paper,' and everyone keeps saying what they usually do," Mayra told ABC13 in 2022 after the historic legislation was signed into law.

ABC13 has followed Guillen's story, including her family's journey for justice, in the special "Vanessa Guillen: Remember Her Name."

You can watch it on demand on the ABC13 website or streaming apps.

Fort Hood has since been renamed Fort Cavazos in honor of Gen. Richard Edward Cavazos, the Army's first Hispanic four-star general.

Cavazos was a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam wars who was born in Texas to Mexican-American parents. In 1982, he became the first Hispanic person to wear four stars on his uniform.

He retired from the Army in 1984 after 33 years of service. He died in 2017.

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