Officials: Murder-suicide in Lone Tree


Investigators believe the deaths of two individuals in a Lone Tree home this weekend were likely a murder-suicide, authorities said Monday night.

Preliminary results from the Iowa assistant medical examiner determined Tina Marie O’Leary, 39, died of asphyxiation in her home. Timothy Mellinger, 51, of Washington, Iowa, likely died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Names had been withheld until Monday night pending positive identification and family notification.
Authorities said O’Leary and Mellinger had been in a two-year romantic relationship that ended around Thanksgiving 2008. Mellinger was no longer living in the Lone Tree home where O’Leary resided.

Investigators believe Mellinger killed O’Leary before taking his own life, police reports show.
O’Leary had three children, said Mary Larsen, 36, a neighbor and acquaintance of O’Leary, whose son attended preschool with O’Leary’s.

“She used to walk to school holding her son’s hand,” Larsen said. “Her son loved her to death.”
In addition to her son, O’Leary also had an 18-year-old daughter and a daughter in first or second grade, Larsen said.

Larsen said she and her husband noticed a pickup truck parked in front of O’Leary’s home Feb. 21.

“We haven’t seen that truck in months,” Larsen said, though until a few months ago, it was parked there every day.

O’Leary had a March 4 court date scheduled in a case against Marty Fellows regarding custody of her children and child support.

Deputies from the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office responded to 401 S. Center St. in Lone Tree on Feb. 21 after receiving a request for a welfare check, authorities said. Upon arrival, they located the two deceased individuals.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa State Division of Criminal Investigation are investigating the case.

“I just think it’s a tragedy and just disgusting that someone could kill someone’s mom,” Larsen said.

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