News broke this morning that Valerie Wells, a reality TV personality who appeared on the 2012 TV series Bayou Billionaires on CMT, had been gunned down outside of a McDonald's in Shreveport. Reports indicate that she was sitting in her in the parking lot when 47-year-old Robert Paul Gaddy shot her multiple times. An officer involved with the case said that Valerie Dowden Wells and Robert Paul Gaddy knew one another, but it was unclear what the nature of their relationship was at the time of the murder-suicide. Bayou Billionaires producer Brian Flanagan told People that Wells had just started dating Robert Paul Gaddy, although they had known one another for some time, since high school at least. KTBS is also reporting they may have dated prior, as in past tense.
Whatever the nature of the relationship or the conflict that caused the shooting, unfortunately, putting the pieces together may be somewhat tricky. After Robert Paul Gaddy shot Valerie Wells, he turned the gun on himself. They were both taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead immediately. Gaddy also died. The event happened around 4 p.m. on Monday.
Reports indicate that Valerie Wells was a mother of three children and a sufferer of MS, who always "had a smile on her face," per Flanagan. She worked in the public defender's office, although her family was independently wealthy. In fact, that's what CMT's Bayou Billionaires was about when it aired in 2012. It followed the Dowden family, who became wealthy after encountering the fourth largest deposit of natural gas in the country on their property.
Episodes featured the family getting into various shenanigans, including making a movie, entering the "Bayou Boogie Battle" and trying out activities--like the country club--that have traditionally been equated with the upper crust members of society. Two seasons of the series were produced, and followed Wells, her parents, her siblings and various kids in the family.
Tragedies like this happen all the time, but it's still devastating to learn a young mother and former reality TV personality has passed away in such a horrific manner. Our hearts go out to the Wells and Dowden families during this difficult time. We will keep you updated if CMT makes an official statement. In the meantime, funeral services will be on Friday. More details regarding visitation can be found here.