Hue and Cry

The Murder of Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz

The Murder of Pvt. Ana Basaldua Ruiz

Location: Fort Hood, Texas  |  Year: 2023

Ana Basaldua Ruiz was born and grew up in the state of Michoacán, Mexico with her mother, Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, and sister. She was an avid reader since the young age of 5 and one of her favorite authors was Paulo Coelho. She also loved music, dancing, flowers, and plants, especially the smell of lavender. As she grew older, she was known by family members and friends to be an active, organized, neat, and disciplined person.

In 2020, Ana became a naturalized US citizen through her father, Ubaldo Basaldua, who resides in Long Beach, California. She then enlisted in the Army and moved to the United States. Her mother and sister remained in Mexico. Due to the pandemic, her training was delayed by a year but finally began in July 2021. At the end of her training, she was assigned to the 91st Engineer Battalion as part of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood for 15 months and was set to complete her contract in August.

Ana Fernanda Basaldua (Facebook)

Fort Hood is located 150 miles southwest of Dallas. Her parents describe Ana’s experience in the military as anything but positive. Her mother said that Ana had been harassed by one of her superiors and that other residents of the base had made sexual advances. Her friends on the base confirmed this as well and told the Telemundo television network that she was being sexually harassed by a superior. Her mother recalled her saying “Mom, everyone wants me to sleep with them, but they are assholes.” It was known to her parents that she would complete her contract and then leave as she was no longer comfortable there.

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.”

Alejandra Ruiz Zarco, mother of Ana Basaldua Ruiz (People Magazine)

On Saturday, March 11, 2023, Ana’s Father Ubaldo talked to Ana who, he said, “felt bad…frustrated and tired.” She has also recently expressed to him that she “was no longer comfortable, that her whole life was wrong, that she wanted to die.” The next day he texted Ana but never received any response. On Monday, March 13, he continued to send her messages but now they went undelivered. He went to check her satellite location which appeared to pin her at a park on base.

That morning military officials showed up at Ubaldo’s work and informed him that Ana had been found dead in a maintenance bay on base. They suggested it was a suicide. To him, this was inconceivable, even in her current state. Ana’s mother has also expressed doubt about the claims of the military that her daughter died by suicide.

Mother Alejandra Ruiz Zarco with daughter Ana Basaldua Ruiz (Telemundo News)

On March 17, the Military Investigators at Fort Hood have stated that no foul play was suspected in Ana’s death. However, the Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID) and the chain of command are actively investigating the facts and circumstances surrounding her death.

Both Ubaldo and Alejandra have complained in different interviews about the lack of information provided to them by the military. Ana’s mother has applied for a three-month humanitarian visa to travel to the United States to await the outcome of the investigation into Ana’s death.

Unfortunately, Ana’s death and reports of harassment are not rare occurrences at Ford Hood. The base has a history of mysterious deaths and rampant sexual harassment. In 2020, Vanessa Guillen was bludgeoned to death on the base. That year alone, 23 deaths were recorded on base. The Independent Fort Hood Review Committee also found a “deficient climate” on the base where sexual assaults were significantly underreported due to a lack of confidence and fear of retaliation, especially within enlisted ranks.

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All images and videos used for this story are not the property of The Hue and Cry. They are property of their original owners/publications. Photos are from El Pais, Telemundo News and People Magazine.