Despite her family’s allegations that she was being sexually harassed, military officials at Fort Hood concluded that there was no foul play in the death of Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz, who was stationed at the Texas Army installation.
According to a statement from Fort Hood, 20-year-old combat engineer Basaldua Ruiz of the 1st Cavalry Division passed away on Monday.
The Army Criminal Investigation Division and the chain of command are actively looking into the details and circumstances surrounding her death, according to the statement, which was made public on Wednesday.
Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, the mother of Basaldua Ruiz, said to CNN affiliate Univision and Telemundo News that she was informed by Army officials that her son committed suicide.
Ruiz Zarco said that her daughter was being sexually harassed at the base and that she disputes the assertion.
Basaldua Ruiz’s cause of death was not made public by the Army, but it did say in a statement that “any potential harassment will be addressed and thoroughly investigated.”
The statement read, “Army CID will continue to conduct a comprehensive investigation and gather all facts and evidence to ensure they ascertain just what transpired.
Basaldua Ruiz passed away three years following the murder of Vanessa Guillén, a Fort Hood Army Spc who vanished in April 2020 and was subsequently discovered dead in a shallow grave. Guillén’s relatives said she was the victim of sexual harassment and was about to report it; she passed away the day before she was going to do so.
Officials said that the suspect, a fellow soldier from Fort Hood, committed suicide after being approached by authorities. According to Guillén’s relatives, the man shot and killed her after learning that she intended to report sexual harassment.
Following Guillén’s death, an investigation was conducted, which resulted in the firing of 14 senior officers and raised questions about the base’s culture.
The Fort Hood Independent Review Committee discovered “a deficient climate” there, including “ineffective implementation of the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program that resulted in a pervasive lack of confidence, fear of retaliation, and significant underreporting of cases, particularly within the enlisted ranks,” the Pentagon stated in 2020.
According to officials, Basaldua Ruiz joined the Army in 2021 and is from Long Beach, California. She had spent 15 months working with the 1st Cavalry Division.
Col. Christopher Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, noted that any death of a soldier was tragic. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Ana’s family, friends, and coworkers.
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