Airman First Class Sissy Beatriz Cox, USAF
Shared from Fox Antonio 29 :
SAN ANTONIO — Vanessa Guillen’s sexual harassment and murder has brought the spotlight back on harassment in the Armed Forces and how it’s handled.
Fox San Antonio introduces us to a Texas Airman whose family says her country and state failed her when she was victimized twice, once by a superior and then raped by a certified nurse’s assistant who was working as a contractor at SAMMC.
Beatriz Cox says her daughter “Sissy” was a miracle baby, “She was a preemie baby, about 2 1/2 pounds.”
But Sissy grew up to be a strong woman.
“Oh my god, beautiful, caring girl,” said Jeff Cox, Sissy’s father. “She was always full of life.”
Born in 1989 and growing up during a tough period for our country, Sissy decided to join the Air Force.
“I said, ‘I don’t want you to go, but I’m going to back you. okay, I don’t want you to go, but I’m going to back you. We always give you the support,'” said Jeff Cox.
“I didn’t want her to go. I tried, she said, ‘Mom, I want to serve my country. I love my country,’ you know, that’s what she wanted to do after 9/11. That’s all she talked (about), was how to protect our country,” said Beatriz Cox.
“But her country fail to protect her?” Yami asked. “Yes exactly,” said the Cox’s.
“Definitely, oh yes,” said Beatriz Cox
“She got a living hell when she joined the Air Force. First six months was fine and after that everything just deteriorated,” said Jeff Cox.
We get a small glimpse of that living hell Sissy survived, in this federal lawsuit filed against some of those responsible.
“She was assaulted by her superior up in Ohio when she was stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio,” said Jeff Cox.
After that sexual assault, she was diagnosed with military sexual trauma syndrome and was transferred to San Antonio to be closer to home. Throughout, her parents say it was evident that the problem was systemic. You were supposed to take the abuse and not report it.
“You’re a nobody. That’s how I think they feel, even some of the men. Now that I hear their stories, breaks my heart, because it’s not only women but also men,” said Beatriz Cox. “So they think just because you’re higher up, you have to abuse the young people coming in, those seniority, that’s not right.”
But once in San Antonio at SAMMC, the unthinkable happened at the hands of a contractor working in the mental health department as a certified nurse’s assistant.
“I couldn’t believe it happened, not at a military hospital,” said Jeff Cox. “So I called her doctor and her doctor said yes Mr. Cox this happened.”
According to the lawsuit, Matthew David Black, who was convicted of sexual assault, was a contract employee through two staffing agencies named in the lawsuit. He was working as a certified nurse’s assistant or CNA in Unit 6-T at SAMMC and was assigned to care for Sissy Cox, a high-risk patient, due to her suicide attempt. Black was convicted of forcing her to do sexual acts and videotaping her.
The lawsuit claims that the contractors who hired Black failed to monitor, train, vet and conduct background checks before he was allowed to work in the psychiatric ward.
According to the lawsuit, Professional Performance Developments (PPD) Group, Inc and Donald L. Mooney Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a Nurses Etc Staffing, failed to perform any sort of diligent background check which would have demonstrated a past history of questionable conduct with female patients by the CNA.
Fox San Antonio reached out to both contractors named in the lawsuit, one has not returned our calls and the other one says they will prepare a statement. But that is not where Sissy’s story ends.
“She was suffering so much from the PTSD that on May 12th, she decided to end her life,“ said Jeff Cox.
Once home, in Mission, TX, Sissy continued to battle with the effects of two sexual assaults that her parents say killed her soul.
“She got so frustrated, so upset, she went and bought a gun at point-blank and then drove to Academy and bought bullets and went to the hospital, where a mental health hospital here in,” said Jeff Cox. “and she put one bullet in the trigger and killed herself.”
But how could she have bought a gun if she had been in mental health facilities? By federal law, the gun should never have been sold to Cox. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this happens.
Kevin Patrick Kelley fatally shot 26 people and wounded 20 others during a mass shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Kelley was prohibited from purchasing firearms and ammunition due to a conviction for domestic violence and due to mental health issues while he was an Airman with the U.S. Air Force. The Air Force failed to record the conviction with the federal government, so he would be in the database.
Cox’s parents claim the same thing happened to their daughter.
“How was she able to do that, if she had been in a mental institutions?” Yami asked. “She has a gun license,” said Beatriz Cox.
“She has a Texas state gun license, they never revoked it,” said Jeff Cox.
“She went and renewed it ,” said Beatriz Cox. “I guess she went online and renew it and with that you can just go in and they give you the gun because they already did the background.”
On May 12th, her parents say the government and the State of Texas failed Sissy, once again, allowing her to purchase a weapon and end her pain.
Air Force Airman First Class Sissy Beatriz Cox of Mission, Texas passed away on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 in Edinburg. Sissy was preceded in death by her paternal grandparents; Billy and Viola Cox and maternal grandfather, Frank Zambito. She is survived by her parents; Jeff and Beatriz Cox, sister, Heather Cox, maternal grandmother, Maria Zambito, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. Memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 10, 2020 at Ric Brown Family Funeral Home of Mission. Burial will follow at Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission. Services are under the direction of Ric Brown Family Funeral Home of Mission.
Shared from Ric Brown Funeral Home: