FORT HOOD, Texas — The death of a Fort Hood soldier has led to an investigation.
Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz, a combat engineer, died on March 13, according to Army officials. The Army's criminal investigation division said as of Thursday, there is no evidence of foul play in her death, but an investigation continues.
“A loss of any one of our Soldiers is a tragedy and it is no different in the death of Private Ana Basaldua Ruiz. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Ana,” said Col. Christopher Dempsey, commander, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “We have remained in constant contact with both parents of Private Basaldua Ruiz, and will continue to keep them updated.”
Basaldua Ruiz, 20, served with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood for the past 15 months, Army officials said. According to records, her home is in Long Beach, California and she entered the Army in July 2021.
She was assigned to the 91st Engineer Battalion, 1st ABCT, 1st Cav. Div., since December 2021.
The lawyers for Basaldua Ruiz's family released the following statement on Saturday:
“Ana’s family is devastated by the tragic loss of their daughter, niece, and friend. She was a shining light for her family and is already dearly missed. We will be watching closely to ensure that military leadership conducts a thorough investigation for the sake of Ana’s family and all those currently serving in our US military.”
Fort Hood was the site of the 2020 killing of Vanessa Guillén.
“It’s heartbreaking because after Vanessa Guillen there was a lot of hope Fort Hood had changed its culture," said Retired Colonel Don Christensen, legal counsel for The Pink Berets.
The non-profit is based in the San Antonio area and supports women in active duty across the U.S.
“From what her mother says, like Vanessa, Ana was a victim of sexual harassment. We don’t know if Ana was murdered, if Ana committed suicide," said Christensen. “Fort Hood has lost too many great soldiers over the last years to let this continue – whether it was suicide or murder, it just can’t continue."
Guillén's family claimed that she was harassed and assaulted at Fort Hood, sparking a social media movement of former and active service members who came forward about their own experiences using the hashtag #IAmVaessaGuillen.
State and federal lawmakers passed legislation in 2021 honoring Guillen, removing some authority from commanders and giving survivors more options to report abuse.