BLAME EPISODE 14: WE’VE BEEN WAITING A LONG TIME FOR THIS – More than 16 years after Jill Wells was shot and killed on a lonely Colorado ranch, public officials in Lincoln County are taking steps to address numerous questions raised by a 9Wants to Know investigation.
Questions about the March 28, 2001, shooting that were first raised by the woman’s family and friends.
The day she died, the 37-year-old nurse and mother of two was target shooting on a ranch with her husband, Mike Wells, and the couple’s 6-year-old son, Tanner. Her husband told the responding sheriff and coroner that the boy had accidentally fired the fatal shot while fiddling with a rifle, and they accepted the story with little investigation.
But the sheriff in office at the time, LeRoy Yowell, and the coroner, Don Bender, accepted that account with little question.
Years later, one of Jill’s sisters pushed for the case to be reopened, and in 2008 it was. During that probe, investigators found evidence of extensive life insurance – including a large purchase by Jill Wells just weeks before her death – and of marital and financial problems.
And then Mike Wells died of a drug overdose.
Over the past year, 9Wants to Know dug into the case, uncovering evidence no one else had previously found. All of it leads many investigators to believe that young Tanner Wells wasn’t responsible – that his father was.
And now, in a new episode of our investigative podcast, BLAME, listeners can hear an update on the case.
Come along as Lincoln County’s current sheriff, Tom Nestor, and current coroner, Andy Lorensen, discuss steps they have taken as a result of our 9Wants to Know investigation – steps that have brought a measure of peace to Jill’s family. Both men took office years after the shooting – it was Nestor who reopened the case in 2008 after questions raised by Jill’s sister, Julie Evenson.
And hear from Julie herself as she reacts to the new developments and talks about what it has meant for her and her family to share their story.
BLAME is a podcast produced by the 9Wants to Know investigative reporting team at 9NEWS in Denver, Colo. Reporter Kevin Vaughan takes you along as 9Wants to Know investigates a mother’s death, her husband’s secrets and the lax police work that far too quickly accepted the story that the couple’s 6-year-old son was to BLAME.
It takes you back to the beginning, the day Jill Wells died and her husband Mike told authorities their son Tanner pulled the trigger, to re-examine the crime and ask investigators, family and friends the question: Who’s really to BLAME?
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Review key evidence in the case, meet the key players and learn more about the 9Wants To Know investigation into the death of Jill Wells on 9news.com/blame.