Man Asphyxiated Son Before Killing Self, Police Say

By Ernesto Londono
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Gaithersburg man who committed suicide in October apparently asphyxiated his 23-month-old son before shooting himself, Montgomery County police said yesterday.

Officers didn't disclose a motive in the Oct. 8 murder-suicide, which took several weeks to investigate because preliminary autopsy results were inconclusive.

Police found the bodies of Gerald R. Wells, 39, and his son, Jacob M. Dunn, after the boy's mother became suspicious because no one responded to her knocks on the door of Wells's home, in the 18300 block of Streamside Drive, when she arrived to pick up her son.

Wells and the boy's mother, Halley L. Dunn, dated from December 2001 until March 2004, when she became pregnant, according to a child support case she filed against Wells. Dunn took Wells to court in January 2005, saying that he hadn't acknowledged paternity or paid child support. A DNA test conducted during the case confirmed that Wells was the boy's father.

According to court records, Wells, who made less money than Dunn, initially represented himself in the matter. In one instance, he drew his legal arguments from a pamphlet he'd picked up in the courthouse. Eventually, he retained a lawyer, agreed to pay child support and began to show an interest in playing a role in his son's life.

A few weeks before the deaths, Wells had gone to court to try to have his son's last name changed to reflect his paternity.

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