The gunshot murder-suicide that left two town of Oneonta residents dead this week began with a domestic dispute inside the couple's home, state police at Oneonta said Thursday.
Investigation into the deaths of Tifanne K. Wells, 44, and George “Larry” Jones, 51, is continuing, troopers said Thursday, and state police are trying to piece together a timeline to help determine what led to the events.
When troopers responded to the couple's home at 447 County Route 47 on Sunday, they noticed signs of a dispute inside the couple's home, according to Trooper Nathan Riegal, Troop C Public Information Officer.
“It appeared that it started inside and ended up going outside, and it ended there with the man killing the woman,” Riegal said Thursday.
There was no note left and Wells and Jones appear to have been the only ones home at the time of the shooting, according to Riegal.
Troopers found the bodies of Wells and Jones near each other in the snow on Sunday after Jones' wife, Brenda Jones, of North Carolina, called Otsego County 911 after not being able to reach Jones. Otsego County Coroner James Hurley declared Wells and Jones dead at the scene.
Autopsies conducted Monday at Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton ruled that the deaths were respectively a homicide and suicide, troopers said. The procedures revealed that the Oneonta couple died late Saturday afternoon of gunshot wounds from a 9 mm handgun.
Wells was found to have two gunshot wounds, one in her back and one in the back of her head; and Jones had one self-inflicted gunshot wound underneath his chin, troopers said. According to Riegal, troopers do not have any information on the gun that was used.
Riegal said troopers are not aware of a history of domestic abuse between the couple, who apparently met while working at The Holiday Inn in Oneonta. However, troopers had been called to the home recently to respond to a complaint involving Jones, but Wells was not “at all” involved, he said. Riegal did not provide any additional information about the prior complaint.
A former employee of The Holiday Inn who said she knew Wells and Jones professionally and socially told The Daily Star on Monday that she had been to the couple's home several times and never picked up on any violent or dangerous vibes.
Jones was fairly new to the area, having moved to Oneonta from North Carolina two years ago, the source said.
For now, investigators are continuing interviews and forensic analysis to determine what led to Saturday's shootings.
“We're attempting to make contact with anyone who might know what's going on and what the situation was with the couple,” Riegal said. “We're interviewing neighbors and relatives, trying to find out what led up to this.”
Meanwhile, 94 contributors have donated almost $8,000 to benefit Wells' two sons, Austin and Dalton Wells, to “help cover their future” through an online fundraiser set up by Wells' family. The fund can be found at http://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/austin-and-dalton-wells/319391
Family members have also organized a celebration of life for Wells, which will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at The Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center in Oneonta.