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Friends Question Whether Shawna Huebner Really Killed Herself While in Police Custody

Police: Shawna Huebner strangled herself with a phone cord.
Police: Shawna Huebner strangled herself with a phone cord.

When Shawna Huebner got drunk, which happened frequently, she could get confrontational, violent and obstinate -- but depressed? Suicidal? Her friends say they'd seen her in the throes of inebriation countless times, but never once had the 29-year-old been sad. That's why they're convinced the Houston police are lying when they say Huebner killed herself Wednesday afternoon with a phone cord while in police custody for public intoxication.

"We believe the police did something," Carmen Corpus, who grew up with Huebner, told Hair Balls. "And until we're shown something different, we're blaming them. When she drinks she gets a little crazy. Things maybe went too far, and we're thinking the police didn't want to tolerate it."

On the Facebook group Rest In Peace Shawna Huebner!, other friends were also dubious. "Just bcuz HPD got badges dat dont mean shit. They ain't shit," Stefo Lizbeth Guzman wrote, adding in another post: "She didn't do it herself. I just know it."

Police say they arrested Huebner, who was apparently drunk, at 2:40 Wednesday afternoon at Hobby Airport while she was boarding a flight -- to Midland, friends say. Police took her to the police substation on Mykawa Road, where they say she wrapped the payphone cord around her neck and asphyxiated herself. Police discovered her at 6 p.m.

Certain things involving that explanation don't make sense, Corpus said. Huebner's mother went to pick her up earlier in the day, but was turned away and told to come back later. Only after she got back did she learn what had happened to her daughter, Corpus said, questioning why the police had blocked access to Huebner.

The explanation they got wasn't satisfying. "She's young, beautiful. She's been drunk. She's been on drugs before. She wouldn't just do that," she said.

Corpus said Huebner "loved" guns, owned several and if she'd been as suicidal as police say, she would have killed herself before Wednesday.

According to court documents, Huebner was convicted of burglarizing a vehicle in July of 2005.

She worked at Dr. Andrew Watkins's optometry office in the Heights for three years until she was fired a few months ago. "We weren't happy with her work," said Adrian Martinez, who manages the office. "She showed up late a few times. There were communications issues with patients. Her performance was -- how do I put this? -- very up and down." Martinez declined to answer whether alcohol had affected her performance.

HPD says an investigation in the incident is ongoing.

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