The three people who accepted Mike Wells account of how his wife Jill died, reflect on the investigation that they left behind 15 years ago. What do they remember about that day? Did they question the story that her son pulled the trigger? Why didn’t they ask more questions? Whose ultimate decision was it to accept that 6-year-old Tanner Wells was to blame?
What did investigators really know the day Jill Wells died? Did they know enough to definitively put the blame on a 6-year-old boy? We pull the one box of evidence off the shelf of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s department to see what investigators knew and didn’t know. Then, we put a veteran law enforcement officer on the spot, does he think enough was done to investigate the death of Jill Wells?
No fingerprints, no ballistics, no autopsy. And now, 9Wants to Know uncovers several life insurance policies, one taken out just before the shooting. Jill Wells sisters have been asking questions about how their sister died for years but they’ve never heard what we are about to tell them. Investigative reporter Kevin Vaughan walks them through the evidence and the back story he’s uncovered that brings into question Mile Well’s theory that 6-year-old Tanner Wells is the one to blame.
An unintelligible start to a 911 call begins the short and incomplete investigation of the death of Jill Wells. There are very few official records created in the case. A two-page police report. Crime scene photographs. Several recordings, including the only two interviews with the only witnesses to the crime, Mike Wells and his son Tanner, the 6-year-old boy blamed for shooting his own mother. Mike Well’s interview lasted less than a minute. The interview with Tanner took place with the boy on his father’s lap and lasted 1 minute and 31 seconds. But those who responded to the scene say something that wasn’t recorded that day has lingered with them all of these years. Doubt.
Less than 24-hours after Jill Well’s death, the case into her shooting was closed. No one performed an autopsy, no ballistics testing was done and no one conducted formal interviews of the last three people to see her alive, her husband Mike and their 2 young sons. Investigators seemed to accept without question Mike Wells account of the story, that his 6-year-old son Tanner pulled the trigger. For years, dozens of people have carried a nagging doubt about that story, including 9Wants to Know investigative reporter Kevin Vaughan.