‘I don’t understand it;’ Evansville man arrested for murder of his mother

‘I don’t understand it;’ Evansville man arrested for murder of his mother
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 10:25 AM CDT
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - An Evansville man is charged with murder after police say he shot and killed his own mother.

28-year-old Jaron Wells was arrested Monday in Harrisburg, Illinois without incident, according to police.

The arrest affidavit shows this is in connection to the woman found dead in July inside a vacant home on Harriet Street, who was later identified as 45-year-old Shanay Hunt.

“I can’t begin to even explain or understand where all of this came from,” Christy Haynes said. Haynes is Hunt’s cousin, and the two were close she says.

Hunt’s death was a shock to her family and friends. The home her body was left in was abandoned, and police say it was over two weeks after she died that they finally found her.

“The home was in disarray when officers got there,” Officer Taylor Merriss said. “It was a vacant home. It was apparent people had come in and out of the vacant home and trashed the place.”

EPD Special Projects Coordinator Officer Merriss says officers launched an investigation.

According to an affidavit, multiple suspects were ruled out, except for one.

“They found probable cause that he was the son of Miss Hunt, and that he took her life inside of that home,” Officer Merriss said.

Haynes says once she found out about Hunt’s death, her focus turned to Wells.

“I was shocked but I instantly, instantly knew, it was just a feeling, that Jaron had done it, because of the way she had passed, and he had lied to his sister and told her that he had been in Texas,” Haynes recalled. “That he hadn’t been in Indiana, but I knew for a fact he was in Indiana with his mother.”

Officials detail in the affidavit that Wells removed his mother as a friend on Facebook the day she was identified as the body found in that abandoned home. It goes on to say the two had been fighting, according to friends close to them.

”She 100 percent took care of Jaron by herself,” Haynes said. “Had her own place and everything at 16 years old.”

Haynes still can’t wrap her head around the scenario, and can’t find peace in the situation.

“She did everything for her son, he was her life,” Haynes said. “I don’t understand it. There’s nothing in this world she could have done because she loved that boy.”

The affidavit shows a family member told detectives Wells had been violent with her in the past.

Police say they found web searches for the kind of ammunition that killed Hunt.

They say an empty gun case for the same kind of gun was found inside a storage unit that Hunt had been paying for.

Friends tell police Wells had two guns and had been discussing them over messages just a few days before they believe Hunt was killed.

They say those messages include “There’s no such thing as an accident. Everything is preventable when handling firearms.”

Police say Facebook messages from Wells show a picture of a Glock 38 and discuss how they require those same caliber ammunition.

Wells was booked in the Saline County, Illinois, jail. Police say he’s expected to be extradited to Evansville within the week to face the murder charge in Vanderburgh County.

Jaren Wells arrested near Harrisburg, Illinois (Source: Ava Reeves)
Jaron Wells
Jaron Wells(Saline Co. Jail)
Shanay Hunt
Shanay Hunt(Colonial Terrace Funeral Home)