Friends, neighbors say victim was talented, hardworking woman
Davis, owner of Fun Time RV Park in Port Aransas, could hear shouting from time to time within the trailer occupied by tenants Jose Francisco “Frank” Guillen and his live-in girlfriend, Lanae Wesner.
“They fought a lot,” Davis said.
And now Guillen is in jail, facing a murder charge in connection with Wesner’s shooting death on Wednesday, March 31, police said.
Wesner was one of five people shot at a party at the Fin and Feather RV Park and Marina, off State Hwy. 361, west of the Port Aransas city limits (as reported Thursday, April 1, on the South Jetty’s Web site, www.portasouthjetty.com). Police said they believe Guillen opened fire on the five after an argument.
In terms of a body count, it was Aransas Pass’s worst shooting in many years.
At press time, six days after the shooting, Guillen still was being held on a murder charge and aggravated assault charges at Harris County Jail after being arrested in Houston. He was awaiting transfer to the Nueces County Jail.
APPD still hadn’t released all of the victims’ names as of Tuesday, April 6. Gonzales said all except Wesner lived in Aransas Pass.
Guillen, 33, and the victims were the only ones at the party. After the argument, Guillen left and then allegedly returned about 30 minutes later with a gun, police said.
In addition to the fatal injuries to Wesner, a woman was shot in the hip, another woman was shot in the stomach, a man was shot in the hip and another man suffered a gunshot wound to the face, police said.
One man and one woman still were hospitalized Tuesday, both of them at Christus Spohn Hospital Memorial in Corpus Christi, Gonzales said.
Aransas Pass police were notified of the shooting at 10:12 p.m., according to a news release issued by APPD.
One of the men was taken by a HALO Flight medical helicopter to a hospital where he later was listed in critical condition. The other victims were transported by ambulances.
A deputy from the Nueces County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office discovered a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle’s description at Guillen’s home at 12:37 p.m., said Michael Bustos, a detective with the Port Aransas Police Department.
Law enforcement officers knocked on the door, but no one answered, Bustos said. Officers kept watching the trailer until the Aransas Pass Police Department could get a warrant that allowed them to go inside, Bustos said. When they got the warrant and entered the trailer later that night, no one was home, he said.
Police searched the home and the surrounding area without locating the suspect, said Lt. James Stokes of the Port Aransas Police Department.
Police say Guillen drove to Port Aransas after the shooting, left his car and then fled town before police could find him here.
Guillen is believed to have driven to Port Aransas the long way – not by way of the ferries, but by traveling through Aransas Pass and Corpus Christi before entering Port Aransas northbound on State Hwy. 361, Gonzales said.
Guillen is believed to have avoided the ferries because he thought ferry employees or police at the landing would be on the lookout for him, Gonzales said.
On his way to Port Aransas, Guillen passed through Ingleside, and an officer with the Ingleside Police Department pulled Guillen over because his car seemed to fit the rough description police received of a vehicle associated with the shooting, according to Ingleside Police Chief Stan Bynum. But they let him go, because they couldn’t be sure they had the right person, Bynum said.
“Ingleside officers stopped a car matching the partial description they had, minutes after the shooting,” Bynum said. “It (later) turned out to be the suspect, but they had no description of him, so they had no reason to hold him.”
Police believe Guillen continued on, heading through Corpus Christi and then stopping in Port Aransas, where he parked his vehicle at his home at Fun Time RV, in the 400 block of West Avenue C, Gonzales said. Guillen then made his way to Aransas Pass in some way that hasn’t been determined, the detective said.
Guillen took a taxi from Aransas Pass to Corpus Christi International Airport, stopping along the way to buy a pair of shoes at the Wal Mart in Aransas Pass, because he was barefoot, Gonzales said.
U.S. Marshals Service officers went to the Corpus Christi airport but arrived moments after Guillen’s flight took off for Houston, Gonzales said.
Marshals arrested Guillen at Hobby Airport in Houston about 9:30 a.m., as he was trying to board a flight bound for California, police said.
Port Aransas police never have charged Guillen with anything in the past except for when an officer wrote him a traffic ticket in January, according to Scott Burroughs, chief of the Port Aransas Police Department.
Wesner and Guillen were housekeepers at Alister Square Inn, said Freddie Williams, manager of the inn.
Williams said he was shocked when he heard about the shootings. He said Guillen was a quiet man.
“Very easygoing,” Williams said. “Always willing to help with anything. He was very congenial. Anytime I asked him to get something done, it was: ‘Yes, sir!’ ”
Wesner also was quiet, Williams said.
“She was always helpful, always had good ideas,” he said.
Wesner and Guillen rode bicycles to the inn and worked as a team in their housekeeping, according to those who knew them.
The couple previously worked as housekeepers at Laughing Horse Lodge. Former manager Sandy Darnell said Wesner was a good artist who created murals on the interior walls of some of the cottages.
“I would walk into one of those rooms and there would be a sailboard on the wall, or something else she had just come up with. She was very talented,” said Darnell, who, with her husband, Loyd, managed the Laughing Horse from 2005 until February this year.
“She loved country music. She sang it all the time. I’d be working inside, and all of a sudden, I’d hear her. She knew the words to every song,” Darnell said.
“She was just a good lady,” Darnell said. “She had a good heart. She was just in a bad place.”
Wesner grew up in Blanco and also lived for a while in Kerrville, according to her brother, Bobby Wesner, of Austin. She had three children: Beth Wesner, 17, of Kerrville; Page Vaughan, 15, who lives with her father in Pearsall; and Levi Wesner, 10, who lives with his grandmother, in Kerrville, relatives said.
“She was just so friendly to everyone she met,” said Wesner’s mother, Paula Taylor, of Kerrville. “She never met a stranger.”
Wesner moved to Port Aransas on an impulse about two years ago, because she loved the Gulf of Mexico, Bobby Wesner said.
“She enjoyed life,” her brother said. “She was always a person that, if she wanted to go somewhere, it didn’t matter where, she would just up and go. She enjoyed life to the fullest.”
Wesner met Guillen during a period when she lived in California, her brother said. They were together for 10 years, relatives said.
Wesner’s relatives said they’re having her cremated. They said they will take her remains to Caddo for services that had not been scheduled as of press time.