February 14, 2012 in City, News

Report: Gilman called father before bodies were found

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

A photo of Nick Ader, his wife Tracy and their two sons is the centerpiece to a growing memorial to the murdered members of the family at the intersection of Heroy Avenue and Whitehouse Street.
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A man suspected of murdering a woman and her two sons told his father he’d shot someone before police even knew there was a crime scene Friday.

Spokane police were notified by 911 about 6:38 p.m. that Larry Gilman was talking to his son, Dustin Gilman, on the phone and that his son had confessed to shooting someone and said he was lost in the woods.

Larry Gilman told police that his son told him he’d been “partying all night on the South Hill” when he woke up with a gun and a dead person next to him, according to information released today.

Dustin, 22, told his father he was not going back to jail, police say. The conversation ended with several gunshots.

Then at 7:14 p.m., Gilman’s half-brother, Travis O’Kelly, called 911 to report a dead woman at 4411 N. Whitehouse St. Police arrived to find the bodies of Tracy Ann Ader, 32, Damien Ader, 10, and Kadin Ader, 8.

Families of the Aders and Gilman say they have no idea why Gilman murdered the three. Police have said nothing about a possible motive, either.

Police found Dustin Gilman’s body in a forested area on Hazard Road near the Wandemere Bridge, north of Spokane city limits, Monday. An autopsy determined he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

Detectives haven’t corroborated his claims to his father about a party on the South Hill or waking up to a dead person. They believe he called his father from Damien’s cellphone. They also believe Gilman called a female friend about 5 p.m. and said “he had blacked out and when he woke up there were dead bodies around him,” police said.

Police still are trying to determine how Gilman got from the crime scene to the woods where he died.

Ader’s sister visited the home Thursday night with her 1-year-old child and noticed nothing out of the ordinary, said her stepfather, Steve Ponsness. When she left that night, Gilman was sitting on the couch watching TV, Ponsness said.

Police believe Ader and her sons had been dead for several hours when they found them Friday night because their bodies were cold. Tracy Ader was partially clothed, lying face down on a mattress in the basement with her hands bound behind her back and duct tape over her mouth. The boys were found near a marijuana growing operation in the northwest corner of the basement. Police believe one of them may have been sexually assaulted.

Police say the boys and their mother each had something tied around their necks and appeared to have been strangled, though official autopsy results are pending.

The new information was contained today in a news release and in a search warrant that was used to seize evidence from the Whitehouse Street home.

Detectives swabbed for DNA evidence throughout the home and seized clothing and blankets.

They also seized a video camera and noted in court documents a surveillance video system that may contain footage was stored within the home. Detectives also took guns from the home, as well as bullets, electric cords, pieces of cut rope and other possible evidence.

They also found a note on a table but have not disclosed its contents.

Gilman had been staying with Ader and her husband, Nick Ader, for about four months, O’Kelly told police.

Tracy Ader was visiting her husband at a hospital Friday morning when she returned home to check on the boys. Nick Ader grew concerned when he hadn’t heard from her for several hours.

O’Kelly, who is friends with Nick Ader, crawled through a dog door at the home that evening and made the 7:14 p.m. 911 call after finding a woman dead in the basement.

O’Kelly told police he went there to check on his half-brother after his sister called and said Gilman “had killed somebody, then shot himself,” according the search warrant.

Police tracked Gilman’s cellphone and Tracy Ader’s cellphone to try to find him.

A police dog located Gilman’s body in a “plateau, cliff-like area” on 45 acres of private property at 909 Hazard Road, Interim Police Chief Scott Stephens said Monday.

The property is owned by a retired orthopedic surgeon who police say has no connection to Gilman.

Police are investigating how Gilman got to the area. They believe Gilman stole Ader’s 2007 Nissan Pathfinder, which was found in a secured parking lot near Wellesley Avenue and Monroe Street Sunday afternoon.

Gilman had a 2 1/2-year-old daughter with a woman who obtained a restraining order against him in November 2010. He also has an extensive criminal history that includes a felony conviction for stealing his father’s TV in 2009, for which he was sentenced to nine months in jail. He also has juvenile convictions for assault and burglary and multiple stays in homes for troubles youth like Excelsior and Daybreak.

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