In 2005, LaVena Johnson was murdered 8 weeks into her first deployment. The Army tried to rule it as a suicide but the proof said otherwise. 15 years later, another young soldier, Vanessa Guillen, was brutally murdered and the Army hasn’t treated it how it should. What did both of these women have in common? The fact that they were sexually assaulted/harassed and either already reported it or were in the process of reporting it. Part 1 of our season 2 finale talks about how the military closes ranks and refuses to take sexual assault in the military seriously.

LaVena Johnson
LaVena when she was found
Pin on AmericanMilitary
LaVena at her funeral
Vanessa Guillen's family turns to Congress for investigation
Vanessa Guillen
US Army investigation finds Vanessa Guillen was sexually harassed - ABC News
Vanessa Guillen
Vanessa Guillen was bludgeoned to death with hammer by fellow soldier,  complaint claims | FOX 5 San Diego
Cecily Aguliar (Left) Vanessa (Middle) and Aaron Robinson (Right)
Aaron and Cecily killed Vanessa and disposed of her body
Vanessa’s Family at her memorial on FT Hood.

Credits and Sources:

The Silent Truth
The Johnsons Military Sexual Assault Story
Movie made about LaVena’s Case
LaVena Johnson Wiki
NPR Article
North Texas Daily Article
LA Times Article about LaVena
Website set up for LaVena

Wiki Page for Vanessa
The Crime Sheet website article
Stars and Stripes Article
ABC7 News
Texas Tribune

Join the Conversation


  1. It would’nt have been irregular for a senior officer of any rank to attempt to help out a very junior service member. People are taught “military bearing” which includes a confident, authoritarian posture & firm voice. Not everyone is born with or learns the importance of having a firm voice. I learned this in the military and much later in my county posse group. You must be able to command the attention of others so they can hear information & follow any instructions. If she had a small voice (big IF) soldiers may not hear her over regular talking/laughing, etc.
    On the bigger issue of the cover-up, that makes my blood boil. Families always need to push hard to receive the treatment their loved ones deserve. As a woman who joined the Air Force out of high school in the late 80’s I remember how it could be.
    RIP Lavena

    1. Thank you so much for your input Sheri. And yes, I hate how much bad it can be, the fact that its still going on makes my blood boil as well. It always has. I hope her family is able to have closure soon.

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