Autopsies conducted Monday at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton ruled that the deaths of Tifanne K. Wells and George “Larry” Jones were respectively a homicide and suicide, according to state police at Oneonta.
The procedures revealed that the Oneonta couple, found dead Sunday outside their town of Oneonta home, died of gunshot wounds from a 9 mm handgun, troopers said.
Wells, 44, was found to have two gunshot wounds, one in her back and one in the back of her head; and Jones, 51, had one self-inflicted gunshot wound underneath his chin, troopers said.
Officials said they believe the couple died late Saturday afternoon. The investigation is continuing through interviews and forensic analysis to determine the circumstances that led to their deaths.
Troopers found the bodies of Wells and Jones on Sunday after a concerned person not from the area called Otsego County 911 after not being able to reach the couple, officials said. The bodies were found outside the back of the residence and Otsego County Coroner James Hurley declared the two dead at the scene.
Details are surfacing regarding the couple, who apparently met while working at The Holiday Inn in Oneonta.
A former employee of The Holiday Inn who said she knew Wells and Jones professionally and socially said the couple met about a year and a half ago while employed at the hotel's Oneonta location, where Jones worked as general manager up until his death, the source said.
Wells worked as The Holiday Inn's manager of catering for some time, according to the source, but she was not employed at the hotel at the time of her death.
The source wished to remain anonymous but said she had been to the couple's home at 447 County Route 47 several times and “never really got the feeling that there would have been any violence there.”
“I never got the feeling that it was a dangerous place,” the source told The Daily Star on Monday. “But that was just me.”
Officials from The Holiday Inn said Monday that they were saddened by the deaths but had been advised not to speak to the media regarding the couple.
Billy Erario, former president of the Oneonta Little League, confirmed Monday that Wells had at least two children, both of whom were active in the league.
Erario said Wells was “a team parent” who will “certainly be missed by many.”
“It is a very sad day and I cannot express enough the thoughts, concern and sympathy that I am sure we all have for her family during this extremely difficult time,” Erario wrote in an email to other Little League families. “Her sons were her life and Tifanne was a bright spot in our league, always willing to go above and beyond when needed. Her brightness and cheerfulness will sorely be missed by so many.”
Erario said he is hoping that the league will be able to do something to assist Wells' sons, whose names are Austin and Dalton, whether that means helping out with care or setting up a fund for them.
“Tragedies like this should not happen,” Erario said, “but as a community we will do our best to ensure that we can assist the family any way we can.”