NEW YORK (WPIX) — A man is being questioned in the death of his wife, who was strangled and pushed down a flight of stairs in Brooklyn, officials said Thursday.
Tonie Wells, 22, was found dead inside her Crown Heights home Wednesday after her toddler’s constant crying and screaming led a neighbor to call 911, authorities said.
She had trauma to her body and was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The medical examiner will determine Wells’ cause of death.
Law enforcement sources told PIX11 News that Wells was apparently strangled and thrown down the stairs.
Sources told the New York Post that Wells and her husband had a history of domestic violence. Barry Wells, 29, was arrested Sept. 21 on felony charges of strangulation in the second degree for attacking his wife, Tonie Wells, in Manhattan at her mother's home on July 20.
In that case, Barry Wells allegedly dragged Tonie Wells down the stairwell of a West 42nd Street building and into a closet before placing his hands around her neck, causing her to lose consciousness, according to the criminal complaint.
His bail was set at $5,000 at his Manhattan Criminal Court arraignment and a temporary order of protection was issued against him.
On Thursday, police said Tony Wells was a person of interest, and was in custody and being questioned.
According to the New York Post, two NYPD cops were suspended on Wednesday for allegedly blowing off a 911 call to check on the Brooklyn woman.
The officers had been assigned to touch base with Tonie Wells, whose sister called police, relaying that the young mom was “scared” of her husband, sources said.
Dispatched officers drove to Wells’ home in Crown Heights, but never got out of their car to actually check on her welfare, law enforcement sources said.
The New York Post reported that the young woman was pregnant at the time of the murder but New York Daily News reports that the cousin of the victim informed them that Wells was recently pregnant, but suffered a miscarriage. The cousin said that Wells was eight months pregnant when she lost her baby last month after a domestic quarrel.
In September, 2017, the couple went viral after Barry Wells tattooed his wife's face on his back to mark their wedding anniversary.
View this post on Instagram
Man tattoos wife’s face on his back for their wedding anniversary A so in love husband and Instagram user @ibwellstm, has shared a photo of the tattoo of his wife he got on his back to celebrate their wedding anniversary. He wrote; ‘I wasn’t gonna post anything until our anniversary, BUT you let the cat out the bag. Early Anniversary gift, plus it’s Wednesday. #WellsWay’ However he’s been dragged by followers, who said the tattoo looks nothing like his pretty wife. This made him disable the comment section of his Instagram page, as he shared another photo and and wrote “She looks better on my back then a lot of them look in real life.
Friends and family have taken to social media to share their heartache.
Wells frequently posted about her relationship on social media, which led everyone to believe the two were in marital bliss.