The case of: Vanessa Guillen

To give you a little bit of background, Vanessa Guillen was born and raised in Houston, Texas where she lived with her mother, father, and five other siblings. She loved to run, play sports, particularly soccer, and was an avid weightlifter. Vanessa, like the rest of her family, was devoutly Catholic, and committed to her education, graduating in the top 15% of her high school class. According to Vanessa’s mom, she had talked about joining the military since she was 10 years old and when she graduated from high school Vanessa enlisted right away in the US Army. Like any mother, Gloria Guillen was worried for her daughter after she enlisted, but Vanessa was adamant and wanted to defend her country. Vanessa was particularly close with her older sister, Mayra who recently turned 22. Mayra flew out for Vanessa’s graduation from basic training, and supported her sister’s ambition to be in the army, even when their mother wasn’t quite so sure. Mayra remembers her sister telling their mother, who only speaks Spanish, about her choice to enlist: “Without a doubt, mami, it is the law of life.”


Researched and Written by: Allison Hauser and Crime Salad

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