Child’s Cries Lead Police To Her Mother’s Dead Body At The Bottom Of Basement Stairs

January 5, 2018
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A family from Brooklyn are dealing with an awful tragedy.

Just two days after Christmas, police in New York City discovered Tonie Wells at the bottom of her home’s basement stairs.

Authorities were alerted and came to the scene after neighbors heard a child’s cries coming from inside.

Tonie’s 2-year-old daughter, Charlie, was found crying next to her mother’s lifeless body.

If this isn’t heartbreaking enough, some outlets are reporting that Tonie was 8 months pregnant at the time of her death.

According to a statement issued by the NYPD, “Officers discovered a 22-year-old female victim unconscious and unresponsive laying on the bottom of the basement staircase with trauma to the body.” The child’s cries lead the officers to her mother’s body.

NYPD Deputy Chief Michael Kemper says that the death is being treated as a possible homicide. “Preliminarily, the deceased female has bruising on her neck and it appears as if she was either pushed or fell down the flight of stairs leading to the basement.”

The prime suspect in the case is Tonie’s husband, 29-year-old Barry Wells. Wells is in police custody but has yet to be officially charged with a crime.

The New York Post reports that Wells previously attacked his wife.

In September 2017, police arrested Wells and charged him with strangulation in the second degree (a felony) for assaulting Tonie.

According to reports, Wells allegedly dragged his wife down a stairwell and into a closet. He then strangled his wife until she lost consciousness.

In that case, Wells had been released on $5,000 bail, and a temporary restraining order was issued against him.

That case is still pending.

Neighbors also previously alerted police that the couple had “loud arguments.” Despite that, neighbor Michelle Ruiz was still stunned.

They seemed like a nice family,” Ruiz said to the New York Post. “I would see them together. She was nice. He was always pleasant. This is a very quiet block, I didn’t hear anything today. I’m still in shock.”

“I would never think in a million years something like this would happen.”

According to Tonie’s mother, Elizabeth Rivera, Tonie’s sister alerted the police to report that her sister was “scared” of her husband because he was “acting funny.” Two police officers responded to the call, but never entered the house.

After inspecting the outside of the Wells’ home from their patrol car, the officers decided that the call was unfounded and they drove away.

They didn’t even get out of the car for a potential domestic violence call.

It was only when neighbors made subsequent calls that Tonie was discovered, by another set of officers.

The initial responding officers have been suspended without pay while an internal investigation is conducted.

Facebook: Tonie Wells

The police officers have been identified as Wael Jaber and Wing Hong Lau.

Rivera filed a petition in Manhattan Supreme Court asking for a judge to order the NYPD to turn over 911 tapes, police logs, and other documents relating to her daughter’s case.

Sadly, Rivera will need that information for a wrongful death lawsuit.

“My attorneys have informed me that I have a valid and meritorious cause of action,” Rivera says in papers filed in Manhattan Supreme Court. “The officers originally dispatched to my daughter’s home arrived there but did not get out of their patrol car to check on her. I understand that they reported the call as unfounded.”

The mourning mother and grandmother also asked for the NYPD to return her granddaughter’s healthcare information so the young girl can begin therapy.

I have been advised that my infant granddaughter must appear for counseling regarding the death of her mother. As such, it is necessary for me to obtain my daughter’s personal effects which include my granddaughter’s health insurance identification card,” Rivera says in the lawsuit.

Tonie’s sad colleagues have started a GoFundMe to raise money for Charlie, who is being cared for by family members.

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