The woman shot to death Monday night in her Bethesda apartment was a former trusted aide of Peoples Temple cult leader, the Rev. Jim Jones, and the man police said killed her, their son and then himself was the Guyanese ambassador to the United States from 1975 to 1981.

Montgomery County police spokesman Cpl. Phil Caswell confirmed last night that Paula Jean Neustel, 34, had also gone by the name Paula Adams, and that police learned during their investigation of the slayings that she had been linked with Jones.

Caswell said Neustel was shot at about 9:30 p.m. by Laurence Everil Mann, 47, of 3605 Astoria Ct., Kensington, during what police said was a domestic dispute over their 18-month-old son, Laurence Alexander. After shooting Neustel and the boy, Mann killed himself, police said.

Caswell said Neustel and Mann were arguing about his seeing their son and that there had never been any formal delineation of visitation rights. He said police went to the apartment after neighbors reported hearing shouts and gunshots.

Police broke down the door and found the bodies of Neustel and the boy just inside the room. Both had been shot once in the head. Mann was found in a bedroom. He died about two hours later at Suburban Hospital, police said.

Caswell was not able to provide information concerning Neustel's whereabouts between her departure from Guyana three weeks after the mass suicide of 911 of Jones' followers at Jonestown, Guyana, on Nov. 18, 1978, and a year ago when she moved into a two-bedroom condominium at 4977 Battery La.

"We are only concerned with the events that happened yesterday or last night," Caswell said.

Also in the apartment at the time of the shootings was Neustel's 3-year-old niece, Stephanie Sue Watson, the daughter of Neustel's sister, Susan Watson, police said. The girl was found in another room and was not harmed.

Police said Watson and her daughter were staying temporarily with Neustel until they could find a place of their own.

In the report of a congressional investigation into the death of Rep. Leo Ryan (D-Calif.), who was killed in 1978 as he was ending a visit to the Jones commune in Guyana, Neustel was described as one of Jones' most trusted aides and the group's primary liaison with the Guyanese government.

House investigators said, "There are repeated charges of a sexual liaison between Peoples Temple member [Paula Adams] and Laurence Mann, Guyana's ambassador to the United States."

At the time, the woman admitted having a long-standing affair with a Guyanese diplomat, whom she did not name.

A 2-year-old daughter of the woman was reportedly among those who died at Jonestown in the mass suicides. At the time, Neustel said she had been separated from her husband for seven years.

Neustel was among members of the Peoples Temple hierarchy who lived in Georgetown, Guyana, and was there the night of the mass deaths. She said then that she had become disaffected with Jones' style of leadership, and that he didn't believe that she was genuinely in love with the diplomat.

Even among those allowed to live in Georgetown, Guyana, Neustel said at a news conference 10 days after the mass suicide at Jonestown, Jones always had methods of forcing his followers to remain loyal to him.

Neustel, then using her married name of Paula Adams, said that Jones had used her daughter as his tool to keep her in the country to which she had gone in 1974 as one of his first emissaries.

"Everyone here in Georgetown had a relative in Jonestown," she said tearfully, "the reason being it meant you'd always return. How could you desert someone you loved?"

Neustel said in a Dec. 5, 1978, interview with the Associated Press that she was aware that Jones had said she had been assigned to seduce the Guyanese official.

"He [Jones] gave out the story that I was assigned to do it because he couldn't rationalize how I could be having any relationship with anyone outside the Peoples Temple," she said.

Neustel said then that she had been aware of talk among other temple members that she was a traitor to the cult for carrying on an affair with a man who openly opposed some temple goals.

The main reason Jones did not break up the affair, she said, was because her lover was "in too high a position with the government and could have hurt the Peoples Temple."

At the time of the interview, Neustel said the affair was probably over and that she might not see her lover again "because he's already been through enough."

Montgomery County police said the liaison continued and produced the son.

Police said Mann most recently worked as a consultant on a subcontract to the World Bank.

Diplomatic lists compiled by the State Department give Mann's previous address here as the diplomatic residence at 6911 Bradley Blvd., a short distance from the Battery Lane condominium.

A woman who answered the telephone at the diplomatic residence last night said she had no information on the current whereabouts of Juliette Mann, who is listed in diplomatic references as late as 1981 as residing with Mann at the official residence.

The woman said she believed Mrs. Mann had returned to Guyana.