(CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — The search for Vanessa Guillen has intensified and the reward to help find the missing Fort Hood soldier has more than doubled to $55,000, with celebrities voicing their support.
Guillen, 20, was last seen in the parking lot of her barracks at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas on April 22, according to a news release from the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID).
The Army initially offered a $15,000 reward for information leading to her whereabouts, but it has since increased the reward to up to $25,000.
“We are completely committed to finding Vanessa and aggressively going after every single piece of credible information and every lead in this investigation,” Chris Grey, spokesman for Army CID said in a statement released Monday. “We will not stop until we find Vanessa.”
The $25,000 was matched by the prominent Latino civil rights organization, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), on Tuesday.
“This young lady put on the uniform to serve our country. The least we can do is find out where she is now and what we can do to help her,” LULAC National President Domingo Garcia said during a virtual news conference Tuesday.
The search for Guillen, who is of Hispanic descent, has captured the attention of both local and national celebrities.
Houston rapper Baby Bash vowed to add an additional $5,000 to the reward in a Facebook post last week. And actress Salma Hayek pledged to put Guillen’s photo on her Instagram stories every day until she is found.
Before Guillen went missing, she had told her family that she was being sexually harassed by one of her sergeants at Fort Hood, according to the website her family set up to promote the search. She did not identify the sergeant.
“We have to take a deep dive on this case to find Vanessa but to get to the bottom of anything that may be going on at Fort Hood,” Texas Rep. Sylvia Garcia said in Tuesday’s news conference. “These allegations of sexual assault, that is not the first time we hear of allegations of sexual assault in the armed services.”
The Army CID, however, said it has found “no credible information or report” that Guillen was sexually assaulted or that her case is connected to the disappearance of Gregory Wedel-Morales, another soldier who went missing last year while driving his car in Killeen, Texas.
“According to CID officials, they are convinced someone knows the whereabouts of Morales and are encouraging people to come forward for the sake of Morales’ wife, step children, mother and fellow Soldiers,” officials said.
Guillen, a private first class, was last seen wearing a black t-shirt and purple fitness-type pants, according to the Army CID. Her car keys, room key, identification card and wallet were later found in the armory room where she was working earlier that day.
Guillen is described as 5 feet 2 inches, 126 pounds with black hair and brown eyes, according to the Army CID statement.
She has tattoos of a cross with a flower on her left arm, a flower also on her left arm and a mountain with a circle on her upper left shoulder, according to her family’s website.
Officials ask that anyone with information regarding her whereabouts call the Army CID special agents or military police.
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