crimesider

Ga. Father Gary DeToma Allegedly Murders 5-Year-Old Son in Midst of Custody Battle

Gary DeToma Jr. (Personal Photo)

Gary DeToma, Jr. (Personal Photo)

DECATUR, Ga. (CBS/AP/WGCL) Gary DeToma, a Georgia father involved in a bitter custody battle with his wife, murdered his 5-year-old-son and attempted to kill his other son, a 4-year-old, authorities said. 

PICTURES: Gary DeToma, Jr. Murdered

The boys' mother, Melanie DeToma, became alarmed Monday morning when Gary DeToma failed to return the two boys to her, as per the terms of the couple's custody agreement. Police paid a visit to DeToma's suburban Atlanta home, but no one answered and the officers saw nothing out of the ordinary, said police Deputy Chief Keith Lee.

Unfortunately, on Monday afternoon, one of  DeToma's co-workers went to check on him because he had failed to show up for work that day, and discovered the tragedy.

The co-worker "continued knocking, knocking and finally a 4-year-old child came to the door. The co-worker went inside and he found Mr. DeToma in a bedroom with his 5-year-old son and [the child] appeared to be deceased," Lee told WGCL.

DeToma has been charged with murder in the death of his son "Little Gary." Police say DeToma's other son, Will, was also at the apartment, but was alive when they arrived at the home, reports CBS affiliate WGCL. DeToma is facing aggravated assault charges for allegedly attacking Will.

Neighbors knew the couple was going through a divorce and were fighting over custody of the kids, but they had no idea it would end like this.

"I just never noticed anything wrong, no problems at all," Nica Taylor, a neighbor, told WGCL.

The DeTomas had been married six years and were set to finalize a custody agreement this week.

Melanie DeToma's attorney, Blue Spruell says that a fund has been set up to help Melanie DeToma pay for expenses stemming from the murder.

Decatur First Bank is accepting donations to the fund. According to Spruell, checks can be made out to the Gary DeToma, Jr. Fund and can be mailed to 1120 Commerce Drive, Decatur, GA 30030.

  • Caroline Black

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