Skip to content

Hirono Presses Ft. Hood on Investigation into the Death of Private Ana Basaldua Ruiz

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter on April 11, 2023 to Ft. Hood Commander Lieutenant General Sean Bernabe expressing concerns about the circumstances surrounding Private Ana Basaldua Ruiz’s death and pressing for a complete, thorough and impartial investigation. In addition to Senator Hirono, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

“Once again, Fort Hood has failed the young women who stand up to serve our country and entrust themselves to the Army’s care,” wrote the lawmakers. “We urge you to ensure that the investigation into both Ana’s death and the sexual harassment she endured before she died is complete, thorough, and impartial.”

Private Basaldua Ruiz was found dead at the base on Monday, March 13. She had told her family that she was being sexually harassed by peers and a superior. While the Army has said “no foul play is evident,” the case remains under investigation.

The letter noted the findings of the November 2020 Fort Hood Independent Review Committee report, which found that Fort Hood’s command climate presented a “permissive environment for sexual assault and sexual harassment.” The report was prompted by the death of Specialist Vanessa Guillen, who was murdered in 2020. Prior to her death, Guillen had told her family that she was being sexually harassed.

“We expect Fort Hood to take this case very seriously,” concluded the lawmakers. “We expect you to provide all necessary resources to secure justice for Ana and to ensure that her death is the last of its kind.”

The full text of the letter is available here.