'No Foul Play' in Death of Fort Hood Soldier Who Told Her Mom She Was Being Harassed, Officials Say

No Foul Play in Death of Female Soldier in Fort Hood, Officials Say
No Foul Play in Death of Female Soldier in Fort Hood, Officials Say

Army officials say there was no foul play in the death of a 20-year-old soldier whose family said she was being harassed at Fort Hood.

Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz, a combat engineer, died on March 13. She had been serving with the 1st Cavalry Division for 15 months, the Department of the Army Criminal Investigation Division said in a release on Thursday. She was 20.

CID officials said "no foul play was evident" in her death, adding that it will continue investigating the case, including any "information" about "possible harassment."

While officials did not release Basaldua Ruiz's cause of death, her family told Telemundo, during a heartbreaking interview, that officials said she died by suicide.

"A loss of any one of our Soldiers is a tragedy and it is no different in the death of Private Ana Basalduaruiz. Our hearts and thoughts go out to the family, friends and colleagues of Ana," said Col. Christopher Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. "We have remained in constant contact with both parents of Private Basalduaruiz, and will continue to keep them updated."

The Criminal Investigation Division said it is staying in touch with her family and updating them on any developments.

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Basaldua Ruiz was born in Mexico and was a naturalized U.S. Citizen, per Telemundo. She joined the army in 2020, however, because of the coronavirus pandemic her military training was postponed for a year. Her father, Baldo Basaldua of California, told the outlet she was set to complete her three-year contract in August.

Ahead of her death, Basaldua Ruiz told her dad "she was no longer comfortable, that her whole life was wrong, that she wanted to die," he told Telemundo. He had his final conversation with his daughter on Saturday. On Sunday, she didn't respond to any messages.

"The next day [Monday, March 13] I sent her messages and they didn't reach her anymore, the delivered one no longer appeared. I went to look for her [satellite] location and then it appeared that she was like in a park inside the base and that was it. I just put a message to her that the one who was going to die was going to be me of anguish," he said.

On Monday morning, military officials showed up at a restaurant where he worked and told him his daughter had died.

Her mother, Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, said, per Telemundo, that Basaldua Ruiz had told her she was being harassed by her superior and others at the base were making sexual advances toward her.

"She told me 'mom, everyone wants me to sleep with them, but they are a-------,'" the grieving mother said.

Ruiz Zarco last talked to her daughter on March 8, she said in a phone interview with the outlet from Michoacán, Mexico.

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"She told me that she was very sad, that a lot of very strong things were happening, that things were not as normal as I thought, that she couldn't tell me much, but that there was going to be a moment when we were going to be together and she could say everything," Ruiz Zarco said.

Ruiz Zarco added, "[She told me] that she wanted to see me, that she wanted to hug me, and she wanted me to hug her a lot, like when she was little."

Reflecting on her late daughter, Ruiz Zarco said, "She liked to read a lot, she was a smiling, bold, brave and free girl. Loving with her mother."

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She noted that officials in the U.S. are working on getting her a humanitarian visa so she can go to Texas.

Ruiz Zarco mourned the death on Facebook, sharing a photo of Basaldua Ruiz with the caption, "It hurts my soul," along with a silly video of her daughter dancing on TikTok with the caption "You leave me the joy and honor of being your mom!"

Basaldua Ruiz's death is reminiscent of that of Vanessa Guillén, who disappeared on April 22, 2020. She was later found murdered.

The main suspect, Army Specialist Aaron Robinson, died by suicide when confronted by police just hours after Guillén's remains were found. Authorities arrested his girlfriend Cecily Aguilar who is accused of helping to cover up her murder and dispose of her body. She pleaded guilty in November.

Guillén's family said she had previously told them she was a victim of sexual harassment at the hands of others in the military. An investigation by the U.S. Army concluded that Guillén was sexually harassed twice by one of her supervisors.

Officials determined Robinson was not the one who sexually harassed her, and that the harassment wasn't related to her death.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.