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HORSESHOE BAY — Three decades ago, Texas Rangers Stanley Keith Guffey and John Aycock volunteered to hide in the back of a Lincoln Town Car provided by law enforcement to a kidnapper who had already killed a woman.

That man, Brent Albert Beeler, was on parole and wanted in connection with a forgery case. He made his way from Houston to Horseshoe Bay in 1987. In the Highland Lakes town, he held captive 2-year-old Kara Leigh-Ann Whitehead, the daughter of local ranchers Bill and Leigh Whitehead, and the family’s maid, 22-year-old Denise Johnson.

Beeler barricaded himself inside a house, killed Johnson, and then demanded the car along with $30,000.

Now, the life of the 2-year-old girl lay in the hands of the Rangers as they waited for the Houston parolee to get in the car.

In the situation that followed, Guffey would lose his life.

On Saturday, Jan. 21, the city of Horseshoe Bay, the Texas Rangers, and the Texas Rangers Association Foundation will honor Guffey for his actions that day.

As Beeler pushed the young girl into the front seat, he tossed the briefcase with the ransom money into the back of the car and spotted the two Rangers. Beeler had already killed 22-year-old Denise Johnson, a maid who worked for the 2-year-old’s parents.

According to reports, Guffey ordered the kidnapper to surrender, but Beeler fired his .44 magnum revolver at the Ranger, mortally wounding him.

Guffey got off a shot at Beeler but missed.

Aycock, however, was able to shoot and kill the kidnapper and get the 2-year-old girl out of harm’s way.

Aycock and the deceased Guffey earned the Texas Department of Public Safety Commissioner’s Medal of Valor for their actions.

The 70th Texas State Legislature honored Guffey with a resolution for his sacrifice.

Despite the 30 years since Guffey’s selfless actions, many still remember the man’s valor, and the Jan. 21 memorial is an opportunity to share his story with others.

The event is 2 p.m. at 1 Community Drive in Horseshoe Bay. The public is welcome.

Go to for more information on Guffey and the Texas Rangers.

2 thoughts on “Horseshoe Bay remembers Texas Ranger who helped save girl’s life

  1. Her name was Kara Leigh-Ann Whitehead. The story incorrectly references her name twice. She was an angel and is greatly missed.

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