Franklin Township shooting deaths appear to be murder-suicide

July 27, 2017 GMT

WAYNESBURG - The shooting deaths of two people inside their Franklin Township residence appear to be a murder-suicide, according to the Greene County coroner’s office.The bodies of Melanie J. Howells, 43, and John C. Wunder, 41, were discovered Tuesday afternoon when Howells’ daughter, Courtney Howells, went to the home at 781 Pisgah Ridge Road after not being able to contact her mother for several days, according to information in a search warrant requested by state police.No one answered when Courtney Howells came to the residence about 12:30 p.m. and knocked on the front door and shouted for her mother. She entered the mobile home through an open window and found a “significant amount of blood” inside, state police said. She immediately left and contacted authorities.The coroner’s report did not say who killed whom, but the investigation is continuing. Inside, police found a 9mm handgun, bullets and five empty shells, along with notebooks and various drug paraphernalia.Wunder’s father, John P. Wunder, was at the house with relatives Thursday morning to retrieve belongings inside. He said his son and Howells were married last May, but she had yet to change her last name. They had lived in the mobile home for three or four years and had done significant work on the residence.Wunder was a disabled U.S. Air Force veteran who served a tour in Iraq, while Howells was originally from England, the father said. He visited with his son last Friday and the younger Wunder mowed the grass. Nothing appeared to be wrong at the time, the father said, although Howells was apparently suffering from medical issues.“He was just so happy,” he said.Relatives came over Sunday to visit, but no one answered the door. The couple also had not answered several phone calls and other messages, Wunder said. He said he does not know who pulled the trigger, and there has only been “speculation” from investigators.“I cannot understand why this would happen,” he said.A neighbor, Frankie Watkins, was shocked by their deaths.“She was a very nice lady and they were very much in love,” Watkins said. “They were very decent people and it’s a shame it had to end that way.”