As Vanessa Guillen’s family prepares for funeral, lawmakers call for military changes

National News

WASHINGTON (AP/CBS Newspath/KTRK) — Members of Congress are joining advocates for women in calling for changes in the way the military handles sexual abuse and harassment.

The demands follow the death of a soldier investigators believe was killed and dismembered by someone stationed at Fort Hood in Texas.

Congresswomen from Texas and California joined about a dozen other women Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

Many held signs bearing the name Spc. Vanessa Guillen, whose remains were found earlier this month following her disappearance in April from Fort Hood.

Democratic Rep. Sylvia Garcia of Texas says Guillen was too afraid of retaliation to file any sort of report.

The Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam said the family wasn’t made aware of Tuesday’s event.

They plan to be in Washington on July 30 for a peaceful protest – also demanding change in how the U.S. Army handles claims of sexual harassment.

Up to this point, the government hasn’t revealed a motive for Guillen’s brutal killing at Fort Hood. Her family says they suspect the murder is tied to sexual harassment.

“The casket will be on its way to Houston shortly to drop it off,” said Trey Ganem, of Soulshine Industries

Tuesday afternoon, Ganem showed a reporter the custom casket that he made for the funeral. He says he worked with her family – find something fitting and something to reflect her Catholic faith.

“We did Virgin Mary — it turned out beautiful,” he said.

Guillen’s grandmother and six other relatives were able to secure humanitarian visas to travel to Houston for her funeral.

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