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Attorney pursues independent investigation, legislation in Vanessa Guillen's name

Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam said her firm is doing its own independent investigation into the disappearance and death of Vanessa Guillen.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Vanessa Guillen's name is nationally recognized after her disappearance and later death covered headlines. After a press conference on Fort Hood this week, where no questions were taken, the pursuit for answers in Vanessa's death continues. 

"I mean if they had any respect for the family they would have answered the family's questions the whole entire time. Not kept the family in the dark and the media in the dark and the people in the dark," Guillen family attorney Natalie Khawam said. 

Khawam said her firm is doing its own independent investigation. 

"It's kind of like if you lost your brother or sister or child, you know, you want to know what's going on. Why did this happen? Who is part of this, because every person on that base right now is not safe," Khawam said. 

She said they are gathering facts, speaking with people who may have seen, heard or know something. Tim Miller with Texas Equusearch, said they are working together to gather information for her investigation over the phone with 6 News.

"I'm getting phone calls from so many people saying, 'Hey I can help out, I can volunteer my time or hey I used to work at that base and this is where they breached the protocol'", Khawam said. 

She also mentioned an update on a bill in Vanessa's name to protect military victims of sexual harassment and assault.

A congressional press conference for legislation in Vanessa Guillen's name is planned for late July, Khawam told 6 News. 

She has been working with members of congress to enact legislation addressing how sexual harassment and assault incidents are reported by victims and how those reports are then handled by the military.

To that end, Khawam said a congressional press conference is planned on July 30 in Washington D.C. about the bill being drafted.

The press conference, currently planned for 9 a.m. on July 30, will be followed by a rally for Vanessa Guillen, Khawam told 6 News. 

"We're inviting every member of Congress to the press conference," she said. 

Family members and Khawam previously said Guillen told family members she was being sexually harassed by a superior weeks before she disappeared from Fort Hood. However, they said, she did not officially report it because she was afraid to do so. 

At a previous press conference in Washington D.C. concerning Guillen's disappearance, Khawam said the reporting mechanisms in place in the military are responsible for the fear in reporting. She also called for legislation to change they way sexual harassment and assault is reported and handled in the military. 

RELATED: Vanessa Guillen family calls for justice and bill in her name to protect sexual assault victims

RELATED: Fort Hood's SHARP Program 'under inspection'

Fort Hood reported they were conducting their own investigation into the family's claims that Guillen was harassed and would take action on the findings. Fort Hood also said its Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) program is under inspection by an inspector general from the U.S. Army Forces Command. 

The inspection came at the request of III Corps senior leaders at Fort Hood. It is not yet known if the inspection has been completed, or what the findings of the inspection are. 

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