It was on July 18, 2014, when Florida State University professor Daniel “Dan” Markel was gunned down in his own home, just for it to later be deemed a murder for hire stemming from his divorce. But alas, as carefully chronicled in ABC’s ’20/20: First Divorced Then Dead,’ his ex-wife was allegedly not involved in any manner — it was her protective brother to have orchestrated this whole thing. As for his motive, well, that was the long-drawn bitter dispute this couple had been involved in for the past two years over custody of their sons — so now, let’s just find out more about them, shall we?
Who Are Dan Markel’s Kids?
Despite the fact there was a mutual immediate attraction when Dan first came across Wendi Adelson on JDate in the early to mid-2000s, they couldn’t really do anything about it owing to the distance. The truth is the 2001 Harvard Law graduate was serving as an associate at a private law firm in Washington at the time, whereas his match was still pursuing her Juris Doctorate from Miami Law School. Therefore, they developed their connection over texts, calls, as well as weekend trips, all of which combined soon made them fall head over heels in love and ready for a long-term commitment.
Dan hence even took up a teaching position at Tallahassee’s Florida State University in 2005, only for the school to also offer Wendi a faculty role once she graduated with full credits in 2006. That’s the same year they tied the knot in a traditional Jewish ceremony, following which they gladly settled down to welcome two beautiful boys into their lives in 2009 and 2010, respectively. However, everything between them began crumbling apart within the ensuing two years, leading to their formal separation in 2012 and the finalization of their acrimonious, resentful divorce in 2013.
What’s worse is that Dan and Wendi reportedly still had to continue facing one another in court over their disputes in property, finances, child custody, plus accusations of familial defamation. According to the latter, they’d initially decided to share their sons Benjamin and Lincoln “50-50” with only minor schedule changes depending on the time of year, but she later filed for full custody. The reason she gave was her ex was making things really difficult for her at University, so she was planning to start anew with her toddlers, unaware the ensuing battle would result in his homicide.
Where Are Dan Markel’s Kids Now?
In the end, Wendi kind of got what she wished for — albeit she vehemently maintains she had no hand in this criminal offense — but her young sons did end up losing their father in the process. Moreover, according to court documents, she has also ensured their paternal grandparents aren’t granted any visitation or familial rights over her concerns that they might try to take them away. So, today, at the ages of 13 and 14, Benjamin and Lincoln continue to reside with their mother, who has since relocated with them to Miami, Florida, to be near her own family as well as changed their last names to Adelson.
Although, we should mention that the boys’ paternal grandparents, Phil and Ruth, haven’t really lost hope. In fact, an organization they’d reached out to, The Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options or JAFCO, has released a statement regarding their situation, too. It reads, in part, “Ruth Markel called JAFCO to inquire about a backup emergency safety plan for her grandsons.”
“Ruth wanted to ensure that her grandsons would not be left in the care of child protective services should members of the Adelson family be arrested at a time the children were present. At no time did Ruth suggest seeking temporary or permanent custody, or doing anything to remove the children from their mother.”
Moreover, a close, long-term friend of Dan’s has also publicly stated, “Someday, the Markel boys — whose mother changed their last name after their father’s murder — will Google their names, and will learn that their grandparents and extended family didn’t abandon them, and that they tried everything they could to be in their lives, including attempts to change Florida law to do so.”