Pregnant mum killed in police screw-up
TWO New York cops who were suspended after it was revealed they possibly botched a job to check on a Brooklyn mum who was later found strangled to death, are claiming they only thought they had to check the outside of her home, according to The New York Post.
The NYPD officers, identified as Wael Jaber and Wing Hong Lau, were initially dispatched to the home of Tonie Wells, 22, on the morning of December 27 - before her body was found and her husband was arrested for her death.
Jaber and Lau, who have both been on the force for about a decade, responded to the three-storey brownstone after the victim's sister called 911 to report that Wells was "scared" of her husband Barry Wells, 29, because he was "acting funny", sources said.
But instead of entering the home, the cops remained in their patrol car and then drove off.
According to sources, the officers - who were suspended without pay - are claiming they thought they only had to check the outside of the home.
"They believed the incident occurred outside, so they didn't go in," a source said.
Sometime after the initial emergency call, a neighbour called 911 to report hearing the cries of Toni Wells' two-year-old daughter inside the home.
When the neighbour and another resident went to investigate, they found the mum's body at the bottom of the basement stairwell.
"We found her body. We found her. We heard the baby - there was no adult there. And we were looking for her," said the neighbour, who declined to give her name.
The neighbour added: "Once you hear somebody's child crying, you will go check. We're neighbours. We live in the same house."
When another round of cops responded to the home at 9.50am following the second 911 call, they found Wells at the bottom of the staircase with bruises on her neck.
Hours later, husband Barry Wells was caught by police. He was expected to be charged Thursday.
The NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau has launched a probe into the suspended cops.
"The entire incident, including any potential communication and response issues, are being reviewed by the Department," a police spokesman said in a statement.
According to sources, police responded to two prior domestic incidents involving the couple. The details of those incidents were not immediately known.
Meanwhile, friends and strangers took to Tonie Wells' Facebook page after her death to offer their condolences.
"Rest in peace beautiful God Got an Angel," one commenter wrote.