FORT HOOD, Texas — During a Friday news conference regarding the death of 21-year-old Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz, U.S. Army officials encouraged soldiers to come forward with any information regarding harassment on the post.
"Let me be clear, we do not tolerate harassment of any type," said Lt. Gen. Sean Bernabe. "Harassment of any type is contrary to Army values. Harassment destroys the cohesion of our team and it erodes our readiness. Harassment is unacceptable. We do not tolerate harassment."
Bernabe addressed the topic of harassment due to reports of Basaldua Ruiz being sexually harassed by a superior and fellow soldiers prior to her death, which he could not confirm.
"If anyone has information about previous or ongoing harassment of any type involving Ana, or any soldier, I ask them to come forward with information," he said. "We want to know about it. I want to know about it."
The Army's Criminal Investigations Division (CID), an independent command and leading agency investigating her death, is also aware of the sexual harassment allegations, he said.
"[CID] will investigate these allegations thoroughly," he stressed.
Bernabe confirmed Basaldua Ruiz died on Fort Hood on March 13. Details of her death are still being investigated, however CID said there weren't any indications of foul play, he said.
Earlier Friday, the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC) voiced their disapproval to CID's claim.
"For the Army to say no foul play presumes facts that have not yet been brought forth. For the Army to say no foul play would also indicate a tone deafness to the concerns of the father and the mother of Ana Fernanda Basaldua Ruiz," said LULAC National Communications Director David Cruz.
Basaldua Ruiz's parents reported her death was being investigated as a suicide, according to Telemundo News. However, Fort Hood didn't not confirm this information.
Bernabe said Army leaders are in constant communication with Basaldua Ruiz's family and that they will be visiting Fort Hood from California in the near future.
Basaldua Ruiz was born in Mexico and was a naturalized American, according to Telemundo News. Fort Hood says she joined the Army in July 2021 and that she was a combat engineer in the 1st Calvary Division who served with the division over the past 15 months.
"We are saddened by her death and we extend our condolences to her family," Bernabe said. "With Ana's passing, we lost a teammate and a friend. Her fellow troopers and her 1st Calvary Division mourn her loss. Fort Hood mourns her loss. This entire community mourns her loss."
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Rewatch Fort Hood's news conference below: