Murder Victim's Family Speaks Out: Concerned About Possible Scam
SAN ANGELO, TX – On Monday night, after 11 p.m., and hearing the dispatch call, LIVE! responded to the murder-suicide in the 1900 block of Spring Creek Drive (see our stories here and here). As our team waited in a designated area for several hours, they observed the reactions of 39-year-old Wendi Sims’ family after they learned that 78-year-old Henry Chipman allegedly shot her and killed himself.
According to jail records, Henry has no previous criminal record.
In one area, Wendi’s daughter and a friend she grew up with wailed loudly, while Wendi’s estranged common law husband stood angrily, barricaded from the scene because police would not allow him entry. The family friend had to console him via phone because the distraught man wanted to be with his daughter.
Close by stood a man with a shaved head, who was bantering light-heartedly with the officers on scene. He was not standing with the family, but was there because he was the “friend who found” Wendi and Henry’s bodies.
Of course, we didn’t know who the man was until shortly after we provided the first update about the shooting, when San Angelo Police confirmed that the incident was a murder-suicide.
Not too long after our story published, Carlos Fernandez Sanchez, Jr. contacted LIVE! and said he was the “friend” who found Wendi and Henry dead, and wanted to share the story of what happened. When asked why he decided to do so, he said he wanted people to know that Wendi wasn’t just some 39-year-old who was shot, but a woman with a good heart who he has loved since they were kids. She was a mother and a grandmother. LIVE! isn’t the only media he talked to.
In this case, however, he told the story of how, when they were teens, he loved her but was never brave enough to tell her or ask her out, so she started dating another friend, Aaron Gevara, who she married and had two children with. Carlos went on with his life, moved to Houston, and returned to San Angelo about a month ago. When he came back and found out she was “available,” he reached out to her on Facebook.
Since then, the two found themselves in a whirlwind romance. Carlos said the two were talking marriage and he practically moved in with her within days; and, only within a brief time, she was taken from him in this tragic way.
However, when a family friend, who wished to keep her name anonymous, learned that Carlos had contacted LIVE! and other media, and was publicly posting details on social media, she said she had to come forward. Although she wanted to grieve in peace, away from the public eye, which is the way things should be done, she said, especially in cases like this, she had to tell another version of the story. One that is contradictory to what Carlos shared.
A Story of a Whirlwind Romance
Carlos said he knew Wendi for almost 22 years.
He explained, "We just reconciled recently. I was in Houston, and I found her on Facebook. She had just recently gotten separated, and she's been with the same guy since we were kids. I was friends with him; we were all friends together."
Before Wendi started dating her husband, Carlos was 18, and she was 16 or 17; he said he always wanted to go out with her.
"But I never really had the guts to ask her," said Carlos. "I kind of lost her. I went my own way; she went her own way, and we got back together about two months ago."
He reiterated that this relationship rekindled through Facebook, and shortly after, they met at her home.
"We were kids again," Carlos said. "It was weird because the spark was there instantly, and we had already talked about getting married."
At one time, Wendi had custody of one of Carlos’ daughter. She was best friends with a girl he had a kid with.
"At one time, she was taking care of her because her friend was involved with CPS," Carlos explained. "So she took her in, and that's just the type of person she was. She would give you the shirt off her back."
However, Carlos’ return to San Angelo wasn’t initially to reclaim Wendi. He returned for another woman from his past.
"That ended up not working out too well," Carlos slightly laughed. "It was just one thing after another; it's just weird."
As for how things transpired with Wendi, Carlos said he ended up in the hospital with an arm infection. During his hospital stay, that's when he found Wendi on Facebook.
"I sent her a friend request, and, about two weeks later, she was like, 'Oh my God! I can't believe that's you Carlos!' We just started talking from there. It was just weird, and kinda moved really really fast. Within a day or two, I was already staying at her house."
Carlos has no problem sharing his newfound love, and posted many loving moments between him and Wendi on his social media page. On Wendi’s page, there are two pictures of her with Carlos.
Carlos said when he and Wendi reconnected, he felt as if "it were fate."
He noted, "It was meant to be, I guess, because we had hit it off so quickly. We've been going out the last couple of weekends, dancing and stuff, just having a good time, being friends again. Back in the day, that's what we were; we were just friends. We used to all hang out; we lived in the same apartment complex."
Recently, Wendi reminded Carlos how he used to wait with her in the laundry room because she didn't want to be alone.
"It was weird because she always told me herself: 'I always felt secure with you. Like you were always going to protect me.' It's just weird to say that."
Carlos said Wendi moved from Seminole, Texas to San Angelo when she was 16 or 17, and they met at a cafe where he was a cook and she a waitress.
"We all just started hanging out," he said in reference to the group of friends that included Wendi’s husband.
On Valentine's Day, the couple had plans to go to dinner and have a few drinks. Carlos said he was at the mall, at Dillard’s, buying a shirt. The two had been texting back and forth, but the last time he heard from her was at 5:45 p.m.
The Moment Everything Changed
Carlos said Wendi provided home health care to Henry. According to public records, Henry owns a residence in the 2300 block of Glenwood Drive, only a few blocks from where Wendi lived with her daughter, granddaughter, and eventually, Carlos. Her teenage son lives with Wendi’s estranged husband.
He said, "She rehabilitated [Henry] and everything, but once he got better...”
Carlos added that Wendi made excuses for Henry’s erratic behavior, “like if he had dementia or something.”
Henry was said to be a veteran who started showering Wendi with gifts and money; he also asked her to marry him.
"I'm not going to marry you," Carlos said Wendi told Henry.
"He was almost 80 years old," Carlos said. "But that was the type of person that she was. She would talk to anyone. She treated everybody equal. She just didn't think he would do anything like that to her. I didn't really think he would either."
As stated, Carlos said the last text he received from Wendi was at about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday when he was at Dillard’s. He told her he was going to his grandma's to change and would text her soon.
"So that's when she told me, 'Henry's on his way over here; he wants me to give him a shot," he recalled. “I was like, 'Okay.'"
This was one of the services Wendi provided for Henry.
Carlos said Wendi took care of Henry’s bills, and, as far as he knows, the man had made her Power of Attorney because his kids wanted nothing to do with him.
"So that brought up some suspicion, too," Carlos noted.
Carlos explained that he didn't actually go into Wendi’s house that night until about 10:30 p.m., but she had stopped responding to his texts at around 6:45 p.m., which was an hour later than the last text she sent.
"I believe [Henry] showed up between 5:45 and 6:45, and that's when she was murdered," he said.
Carlos said at first he was being patient with Wendi and not “trying to push her.” He thought maybe her phone was dead, but “by the time 9 o'clock came around, I was starting to get suspicious.”
"That's the first time I went by her house, around 9 o'clock," he explained. "I passed by; I [saw] his car."
Carlos said he figured maybe Henry was just talking to her, but then he noticed the front door wide open with the storm door closed.
"The solid door was wide open," he noted. "It wasn't really out of place because she's done that before, but what was out of place this time was that there was no light on. It was dark, so that kind of threw me off."
For a moment, Carlos said he contemplated whether or not he should go inside, so instead he said, "I decided to go to Whataburger, which was around 10 o'clock; and I texted her and said, 'Hey, I'm going to Whataburger,’ because that was her favorite place to eat. 'If you want something let me know; by the time I get back, if you don't answer my call this time, I'm just gonna walk in because you're freaking me out.'"
Carlos said that's what he did. At about 10:30 p.m., he returned to Wendi's house, parked behind Henry's car, and slowly made his way to the front door and rang the doorbell twice. Nobody answered, so he proceeded to open the storm door.
He stated, "I yelled [out] her name. I said, 'Wendi! Wendi! Wendi are you here! Hey!' And I didn't hear anything. The first thing I immediately noticed was the living room was all in disarray, debris everywhere. It looked messed up, and the back door was wide open too. I don't know if this guy was checking for me to see if I was there, or what. I don't know. Because he knew that I would sometimes be hanging out in the back yard. That was like my favorite place to go because I smoke cigarettes, but I go in the back yard. That's like my little solitary place I guess you can say."
Carlos said he saw those issues, and the Valentine’s Day gifts he gave Wendi were opened. By then, Carlos said, "I was very suspicious because I don't hear nothing. So I go towards the bedroom. I see the lights on in the bedroom, and the door is just a little open—it’s not all the way open.”
He continued, “So immediately, I go back there slowly, very slowly, very cautiously, just listening to anything I may hear. I peek my head in the opening of the door, and I see Henry. He was sitting down at the foot of the bed, but on the floor. He was hunched over, like his chin to his chest, and it looked like he was just asleep. But then I noticed he had blood on his shirt, and I was like, 'Oh my God!' I thought she had stabbed him, and I was fixin' to discover her with a knife, and she was like hysterical."
Carlos said he thought this because Wendi had told him that Henry "was like that." He would just show up, and she said, "If he ever comes in my house, I'll stab him!"
According to Carlos, Wendi was worried about Henry's behavior. When asked why she would stay working for him if she was concerned, Carlos said Henry "took care of her bills."
"All she did pretty much was pay his bills for him; go run errands for him; give him shots here now and then; take him here, take him there, or whatever. She was also fixing up his house. She had another guy working for her to help her fix his house."
Well, Wendi didn’t stab Henry out of self-defense. Instead of seeing her with a knife, Carlos, after opening the door all the way, saw her on her back, looking up at the ceiling.
"Her eyes were open, but they were clouded over already," Carlos said. "She had a little bit of blood coming out of her ear, and it was already dried up, so that's what leads me to believe he did this."
He added, "Somewhere between 5:45 and 6:15, that's when it happened."
When Carlos talked to Wendi's daughter, after the two were allowed to speak with each other, which was after police supposedly "ruled" him "out as a suspect," he asked her what happened.
Carlos said the daughter told her Henry had shown up at the house at 3 p.m., and she could tell he was getting agitated because she wasn't paying attention to him; she was on her phone.
"Around that time, that's when she was texting me," Carlos said.
Another individual told Carlos he saw Henry leave and come back after her daughter left and she was alone.
"He snuck up behind her, I guess. I'm thinking he snuck up behind her while she was doing her hair and shot her in the back of the head point blank range," Carlos said.
Carlos initially said he and Wendi were dating for about two months, but later in the interview said they had been dating about one month. When asked how Henry had reacted to their relationship, and knowing that her husband of 20 + years had recently moved out, he didn’t quite answer that question. Instead, he went on to explain that Wendi’s “ex-husband,” Aaron Gevara, lived with Wendi for the last year as roommates. She divorced him two years ago, he said.
"But this guy too, he doesn't want to let her go, and that's just the way it is; but he wouldn't harm a fly," Carlos said. "That's just the way he is."
Wendi told Carlos Aaron still loved her, which Carlos said he understood because he's the father of her two kids.
"He's going to always love her," he noted.
But back to Henry.
Carlos said he told Wendi that when he would see Henry, the man gave him "this weird vibe."
He mentioned, "The last time I [saw] him, I shook his hand, and I said, 'How are you doing, Mr. Chipman?' He was like, 'I'm okay I think.' That's what he said. He just gave me this suspicious look, and I was like, 'What the heck was that, you know?’ I just got this eerie vibe from him."
Carlos said he's not sure how long Wendi worked for Henry, but he estimated for at least the last year.
"I know it's been at least a year, maybe," he noted.
Carlos added that had he been there, Henry probably would have killed him too.
He narrated, "It looks like he first went to the back yard; he opened the back door to go to the back yard because he knew that's where I would hang out all the time. So it looked like he went there first. I don't know if he's the one [who] opened my present, or if she's the one [who] opened my present."
“What it looked like is he snuck in while she was in the bathroom, and she didn't hear nothing. So she's in there fixing her hair, and while she's fixing her hair, he's going through all this stuff—rummaging through things in the living room; and he opens the door, but really really quiet, and what not."
“And what she had told me in that text, like a day or two before, he was going to go change her locks for her. She told me herself that she has to watch him because she was afraid he was going to make an extra key, and I think that's what he did. He made a key, and he was able to come in the house and sneak up behind her."
“Because the way the detective explained it to me, he said, ‘You could tell she didn't even expect it,' and when I went to pick up my things this morning from the house, you could tell. She had her ash tray on the sink, and it was thrown in the sink, so she must have been looking in the mirror; and, in the middle of her putting highlights in her hair with the brush, he shot her, and the brush actually landed on the handle of the toilet, where you flush it. It just landed perfectly, stuck on there; it was weird."
Carlos added, "She didn't know. She was right there in the mirror, doing her hair, and he snuck up behind her and she didn't even know what hit her."
Carlos said he posted information on his Facebook to get a hold of her family, since he didn't know how.
"I was the one who actually had to call her daughter's job,” Carlos said. “I didn't know her cell phone number."
Carlos said fortunately that night the granddaughter was with the other grandmother since the couple had a date. Normally, Wendi watched the little girl while her daughter worked.
"She would generally watch the baby. She spoiled that little girl rotten. She loved her," he said.
He noted that he's been talking to several of Wendi's friends who have known her for a long time because they're all wondering who he is since he's only been "in the picture for the last month or so."
Carlos said, "They've seen pictures of us, being out on the town, and what not, so they knew who I was, as far as her boyfriend, but they really don't know the whole story of how long I've known her. They think that maybe we just met, but I've known her for a long time."
As for their reactions to the news about Henry hurting Wendi, Carlos said they have all exclaimed: “I knew it! I knew it!”
“They knew this guy was crazy,” he said. “Even one of them told me, 'I told Wendi. I told her to leave that old man alone, that he's crazy.' Wendy just played it off as he's just getting old and going through dementia."
Carlos said Henry wasn't actually diagnosed with dementia as far as he knows, but that Wendi simply "made excuses for him."
"She was just a nice person," he said. "You gotta think; she's constantly, I mean constantly getting hit on—constantly, constantly. People on Facebook; people on Messenger; people in bars; she told me herself, 'You really have to be secure with yourself to be with me because it's going to happen, but don't worry, I'll take care of it. I'm with you, and that's it.' That's just the kind of bond we had."
Carlos’ Final Words
Carlos said Wendi didn't want to be wanted just for her looks, and he gave that to her. He appreciated her intelligence, her input and views.
"I didn't belittle her; I didn't control her—none of that—like her other boyfriends did because they were all super jealous, possessive, and controlling," he emphasized.
Carlos mentioned that Wendi told him she was having “none of that anymore.”
When asked how he felt after this ordeal, Carlos explained, “I was just tired and drained from everything, emotionally drained.”
He added that he was supposed to have a job interview Wednesday morning, but had to reschedule it for Thursday because he was with the detectives on scene until about 5 or 6 a.m.
When asked why he wanted to share his story so soon after Wendi's death, especially after being with detectives all night, Carlos said he just wanted to make sure people knew she "was a very special person."
In a choked voice, he reiterated, "She would just do anything for anyone. I know there are some people who may think she was a bad person, for whatever reason, but she even asked me herself, 'How or why can you love me so much in such a short amount of time?' I was just like, 'Because you don't understand; from the first time I met you, I was in love with you.'"
Wendi asked him why Carlos never let her know, and he told her he never thought she would go for him.
Carlos said he wanted people to know that Wendi was a very free-spirited person, very outgoing, didn't judge anyone based on color or background, and she was very accepting of people, no matter what they have done in their lives, good or bad.
"She had lots of friends—lots and lots of friends,” he continued. “I can say she was very rare. It's very rare that you find a woman like that."
He said, "I never thought in a million years this guy would do something like this. To me, he was kind of pervy. He was almost 80 years old, and he [wanted] to be with a woman half [his] age. He was trying to be a Hugh Hefner I guess. He was just totally obsessive."
A Violent History
Carlos, unfortunately, has a violent past and a lengthy record dating back to 1995, according to Tom Green County records.
Carlos went to prison for Aggravated Assault w/Deadly weapon. According to his criminal record, Carlos has a long history of violence, including family violence, violating a protective order, drugs, alcohol, and went to prison for his crimes. In 2009 Carlos assaulted a Grape Creek woman repeatedly, and, while he was in county jail, he got charged with that as well.
After getting out of jail, he was soon found in possession of meth. He went back to prison on violation of probation and possession.
However, many people have also come forward and commented on Henry's violent past as well.
Editor's Note: At the request of our secondary source, we have removed the second part of this story because the friend decided to retract her statements. She said her intention was never to cause harm to anyone, especially Wendi's family. Initially, she did not want to respond to our interview request, but only did so because Carlos Sanchez is talking to all local media, including Abilene media outlets, and she felt that was wrong. She had nothing personal to gain from this interview or story, which is why she chose to remain anonymous.
UPDATE @ 4:56 p.m.
As stated previously, Carlos Sanchez, Jr., not long after we reported the murder-suicide of Wendi Sims by Henry Chipman, contacted LIVE! to tell all about the events that took place that night. He has also talked to other media outlets, including the local newspaper.
Five hours ago, Carlos posted this on his Facebook page (unedited): "Hey does anyone have any pics of Wendi Sims old or new they'd like to share??? Please do so now because there's a news crew on the way from Abilene to interview me about her."
Additionally, Carlos just posted a link to an established gofundme page in Wendi's honor.
Not to mention, after our story posted, he had this to say (unedited): "But now I can't attend funeral because I shared something special with this woman. And I didn't take a damn thing that didn't belong to me! It's all good tho because I know the truth about everything how she grew up. But to shut me out from seeing her one last time because a reporter asked me about her life to honor her and honor her family?? It's funny how she moved to San Angelo at 16 to get away from home and she told everyone that she didn't wanna be buried in Seminole because of bad memories!!! And I know what they are!!! So if y'all wanna keep me from seeing her go ahead.. I got something for that."
He added in another post (unedited): "Oh ya and btw... The reporter was telling me that if I wanted to help the family with arraingments she'd help me set up a site to where people could donate for services!!! Jesus!! Like I'm a damn idiot not to have my girl's back and let the media assume bleep!! Bleep that! That piece of bleep was obsessed period!!!!!"
However, in our recorded discussion with Carlos, San Angelo LIVE! made no such arrangements; but we are not the only media he spoke with.
Because of this man's attempts to make Wendi's death a public forum, and after a close friend's failed attempt in helping to shed light on the truth about Carlos, Wendi's "baby sister," Sharay Cottrell, decided to speak out on behalf of the family to make people aware of Carlos' deceit. Particularly, since he is now asking for the public's help with a gofundme page.
"He was back in her life for only a month, and there's proof of that on her Facebook," Sharay said. "She had kicked him out of the house actually."
Sharay said, in the context of her sister's death, the family knows Henry was a retired veteran. He had had a stroke.
"My sister, she was the type of person who had a really big heart," she continued. "She opened up her home to anybody; it didn't matter if you were homeless, a drug addict--it didn't matter. Wendy was a very giving person."
She added that, for whatever reason, Henry's family deserted him.
"Wendi started taking care of him. We live in Seminole, and even when she would tell us stories, we could tell he was developing this obsession with her. Over time, he started flourishing her with money and gifts, and begging her to marry him," said Sharay.
However, Wendi turned him down. She told him she didn't see him that way.
As far as Wendi "as a whole," Sharay emphasized her sister was not some "scandalous woman taking advantage of an old man."
"We have tons of documents that suggest otherwise," she noted.
Sharay also explained that Wendi had just separated from her husband Aaron, and she was having a hard time with that.
"My sister had also just got diagnosed with breast cancer," Sharay said.
She added that Wendi did not let any of the family know. Sharay had to find out from her niece.
"My mom has already buried a child," Sharay said. "This was my mom's second child."
She said it was bad enough her mother had to lose a child to murder, but to also have somebody who doesn't know the family trying to get his five minutes of fame is wrong.
"I have people calling me from San Angelo sending me all this stuff, and we're just trying to bury her in peace," Sharay stated. "She loved her family; she loved her kids; she loved her grandkid. She had a passion for life. She loved people, and ultimately, that did get her in trouble. Not everybody is in a sound mind."
Sharay continued to explain that her sister was loving, caring, and giving, and she had the biggest heart of anybody "you could probably ever come across."
"That's what I want the public to know. I want the public to know it was so much more than just a murder, or some love story. Her life was so much bigger than "a love story, or who she was dating, or who she wasn't dating. She left behind a 17-year-old, a 21-year-old, and a 2-year-old grandbaby."
She mentioned that Wendi was the type of person who would "give you the shirt off her back if you asked for it."
Additionally, Sharay wanted to emphasize to our readers that her family does not need help from the public, so the gofundme page is strictly about Carlos, not Wendi.
"We have the funds needed. Her high school class she graduated with are actually stepping up and doing a donation towards the funeral," she said.
Wendi's mom is also good friends with the funeral director in Seminole, and the funeral home provided a way Wendi "could have a beautiful celebration of life."
"I don't want anyone to get scammed by [Carlos] in the name of my sister because she wouldn't have wanted that," Sharay said. "It's upsetting to see him do this."
She added that the first day she met him was when she came to San Angelo after learning her sister was murdered. Nobody had heard of him, or knew who he was. She said she saw some comments from him on Facebook, but then she talked to her sister.
"She said that she kicked him out because he wouldn't work; he wouldn't get a job. He was just doing drugs, and he was kicked out of the house," Sharay said.