Fort Hood Commander Removed After Deaths of Elder Fernandes, Vanessa Guillen, and Others
Scott Efflandt was also denied the command position for the 1st Armored Division.
On Tuesday, the United States Army announced the removal of Major General Scott Efflandt as commander at Fort Hood, the Texas base that has recently seen a string of death and disappearances among its soldiers. The Army said Efflandt will stay at Fort Hood for now, as the deputy commanding general for support. He will also no longer receive the command position for the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss. General John Murray, the commanding general of Army Futures Command, will lead an "in-depth investigation into the chain of command actions related to Spc. Vanessa Guillen."
Earlier this summer, authorities discovered the remains of 20-year-old Guillen, who had been missing since April. Her suspected killer, Specialist Aaron David Robinson, died by suicide as police were closing in on him. Robinson's girlfriend, Cecily Anne Aguilar, has been accused of helping him dismember Guillen and dispose of her remains. She has been charged with one count of conspiracy to tamper with evidence and two counts of tampering with evidence; she pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Guillen's family has said the soldier reported being sexually harassed before her death. "The base needs a congressional investigation," Natalie Khawam, the family's attorney, told People. "The system needs to be changed. It is not about the leader. The way [Efflandt] mishandled the investigation and command under his watch was part of the problem, but it is not the entire problem. The problem is our soldiers don't have protections and rights. The family of these soldiers are being left in the dark."
Last month, another Fort Hood soldier, Sergeant Elder Fernandes, was found dead after a brief disappearance. Fernandes had recently reported a sexual assault by a superior officer and was reassigned to another unit for his safety. An autopsy done in Texas revealed that Fernandes died by suicide, but the family has said that they want an independent autopsy.