Mother of female soldier who died at Texas base to travel from Mexico

<span>Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP</span>
Photograph: Tony Gutierrez/AP

The mother of a soldier who was found dead at the Fort Hood, Texas, military base earlier this week will receive a humanitarian visa to come to the US from Mexico and will visit the post to demand answers surrounding her daughter’s death.

Last Monday, Private Ana Basaldua Ruiz, 20, was found dead at the central Texas army post. Ruiz was a combat engineer and had served with the first cavalry division for the past 15 months, according to Fort Hood officials.

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Ruiz was born and raised in the western Mexican state of Michoacán and became a naturalized US citizen through her father, who lives in Long Beach, California. Ruiz moved to the US two years ago while her mother lives in Michoacán with another sister, Noticias Telemundo reported.

“Army [criminal investigation division] will continue to conduct a thorough investigation and gather all evidence and facts to ensure they discover exactly what transpired. Information related to any possible harassment will be addressed and investigated fully,” Fort Hood officials said in a statement.

Ruiz’s mother, Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, told media outlets that even though army officials said that her daughter died by suicide, she doubted the claims and said that her daughter was being sexually harassed at Fort Hood.

Speaking to Noticias Telemundo, Ruiz Zarco said that she was obtaining a three-month humanitarian visa to travel to the US to await the outcome of the army’s investigation into her daughter’s death.

“It’s a matter of honor,” she said, adding that her daughter said that “very bad things were happening”.

Ruiz Zarco said that her daughter told her that an army superior “was harassing her”.

“She told me ‘Mom, everyone wants me to sleep with them, but they are assholes,’” Ruiz Zarco recalled her daughter’s words to Noticias Telemundo.

Ruiz’s father, Baldo Basaldua, echoed similar concerns to the outlet, saying that his daughter was planning to complete her three-year contract in August but that “she was no longer comfortable, that her whole life was wrong, that she wanted to die”.

The Latino civil rights group League of United Latin American Citizens (Lulac) has called for an independent FBI investigation into Ruiz’s death.

“We have already informed the army that Lulac is demanding action and will not stand down until all the truth emerges about what happened,” Lulac said.

“The comments her mother made were eerily similar to Vanessa Guillén’s mother’s comments,” Lulac’s president, Domingo Garcia, told NBC, referring to a 20-year-old soldier who was murdered inside a Fort Hood armory two years ago by another soldier after she reported being sexually harassed.