Husband detained after wife's stairwell death in NYC

NEW YORK CITY, New York -- A husband faces charges in connection to the death of his wife, who police believe was pushed down a stairwell.

Barry Wells, 29, is in police custody in connection with the death of his wife, 22-year-old Tonie Wells. Official charges were likely to be filed Thursday night.

Tonie Wells was found unconscious and unresponsive just before 10 a.m. Wednesday in the basement of the home she shared with her husband and her toddler daughter.

NYPD officials said Wells suffered trauma to her body, specifically bruising on her neck. This is what led detectives to believe she was either pushed or fell down the flight of stairs.

Paramedics pronounced Wells dead at the scene. The medical examiner expected to determine the cause of the death Thursday.

Wells' young child was also found in the house.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said the suspect was taken into custody with the help of police in New Rochelle on Wednesday night.

"We are awaiting the results of the autopsy of Toni Wells," Boyce said. "(The suspect) has one prior arrest for assaulting her in Manhattan. That was in September of this year. He was out on $5,000 bail on that case."

Meanwhile, the NYPD's response to the initial call to the home is under investigation.

Police officers assigned to the 77th Precinct who were initially called to the house to check on the victim's welfare did not find anything out of the ordinary and left.
Their actions, including whether they actually checked on the woman, are now under investigation.

Police officials are also looking into whether the 911 dispatcher gave the officers complete information about the incident.

"The entire incident, including any potential communication and response issues, are being reviewed by the department," a police spokesman said.

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