Family seeks answers after woman's in-custody death

August 17, 2012 9:00:42 AM PDT
A family is devastated and looking for answers because of what happened to a loved one after she was arrested.

The family says they're not questioning police regarding the arrest of their loved one, but rather what happened after that in HPD's southeast side jail.

Just days ago, the Huebner family celebrated their son's high school graduation as he goes off to the Army. Now they are planning their daughter's funeral.

"She was vibrant. She was full of life. She was outgoing," said Kathryn Huebner, Shawna Huebner's mother.

"My sister was planning on coming home," Nicolette Huebner said.

Shawna, 29, was at Hobby Airport waiting for a flight to visit a friend in Midland when police arrested her up for public intoxication before she boarded a plane.

"I'm sure there's a reason for them picking her up, but we just don't think it was handled to the best," said Shawna's father, Fred Huebner.

Her mother went to pick her up at the HPD southeast jail a couple of hours later. Initially, she says she was told to come back due to a lockdown situation and then the words that left her in shock.

"She'd only been in custody two and a half, three hours and now she's dead. We don't understand," Kathryn said.

Houston police say, "Huebner was placed in a holding cell by herself. While in the cell, she wrapped the cord from a pay phone around her neck and hung herself. Jailers conducting a routine check of the cell found Huebner and immediately began CPR and called 911."

The Huebner family says they have a lot of questions they want answered.

"Three hours time with a phone cord, when she is supposed to be isolated and watched? That's my question," Fred said.

Houston police say that's all part of their investigation, from how a cord got into a cell to questioning whether proper procedures were followed. While they hope those answers come soon, first the family is dealing with their broken hearts.

"It's my sister, my sister, my only sister. I love you Shawna," Nicolette said.

Police say an autopsy also will be part of the investigation.


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