Private Ana Fernanda Basaldúa Ruiz, 21, was found dead in a maintenance bay at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, her family told Telemundo News. After a preliminary investigation, base officials assured that the cause of death may be due to suicide, although the family is not satisfied with this explanation and continues to seek answers.
Basaldúa, of Mexican origin enlisted in the Army in 2020 but was unable to join the base until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, her mother, assures that during the two years she was stationed at the base, her daughter insinuated that an Army superior "was harassing her." The same thing happened, she assures, with many other colleagues, who also made sexual advances towards her: "She told me, 'Mom, everyone wants me to sleep with them, but they're really pendejos [a**holes],'" Ruiz Zarco explained.
The soldier said she "wanted to die"
Her father, Baldo Basaldúa, explained that these circumstances led his daughter into an untenable situation. The last time he spoke to her, he said, was Saturday, March 11. He did so by text message. Days earlier, she had told him that "she was no longer comfortable, that her whole life was bad, that she wanted to die." On Sunday, March 12, Ana stopped answering his messages. Basaldúa himself explained this to Telemundo News:
The following day [Monday, March 13] I sent her messages and she didn't receive them. She didn't show up, and I went to look for her location. I just sent her a message saying that I was going to be the one to die of anguish, for not knowing anything about her.
That same day, at 11 a.m., Army officials went to the restaurant where Baldo Basaldúa worked and informed him that Ana had died. Days later, the base issued the following statement on the death of the Hispanic soldier:
Sadly, the 1st Cavalry Division lost trooper Ana Basaldúa Ruiz, a combat engineer who served in the division for the past 15 months. The Army Criminal Investigation Division and the chain of command are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding her death. The chain of command is in contact with her family to keep them updated and provide them with any information that can be disseminated. In addition, they are providing support and resources to the family and troopers who served with her.
Fort Hood, the base where Vanessa Guillen lost her life
The military base is the same one where Private Vanessa Guillén was killed in 2020. The young woman disappeared in May of that year. Three months later, in July, her body turned up near Fort Hood.
According to EFE, an initial autopsy revealed that the 26-year-old woman had been hammered to death on April 22. Afterwards, the murderer had dismembered her body and buried her at a site near the base. After the discovery of the body, the case progressed rapidly. The alleged killer, her partner Aaron Robinson, 20, committed suicide days after the body turned up, just as police were preparing to question him.
Robinson's girlfriend, Cecily Ann Aguilar, was arrested and charged with 11 counts including helping to hide Vanessa's remains. In November 2022, she pleaded guilty to the crime. She is awaiting trial, which will be held in April 2023 and could result in Cecily Ann Aguilar serving up to 30 years in prison.