The execution-style murder of a prominent law professor, Dan Markel, left everyone shocked. It occurred after 11 am on a Friday in 2014, and initially, no suspects were found. Later, however, three people were tried for a murder for hire plot that also incriminated Dan’s ex-wife’s family. They, however, were not arrested. The case has also been discussed in ‘Dateline‘s Tallahassee Trap.’ So where is the mother of his children now?
Who is Wendi Adelson?
Wendi is a lawyer who has enjoyed quite an established career. According to her LinkedIn profile, she first attended Brandies University for her undergraduate studies. She got a Bachelor of Arts in 2001 and had a GPA of 3.9. Next, she went to Cambridge University where she graduated with an M. Phil in International Relations and Affairs. She also attained a JD from the University of Miami. Until September of last year, she worked as the Executive Director for The Immigration Partnership and Coalition (IMPAC) Fund, and before that, she worked as a law clerk.
Speaking of her background, Wendi’s parents are Donna Sue Adelson and Dr. Harvey J. Adelson. They operate a dentistry practice in Miami with Charlie, her brother. She is also the ex-wife of Dan Markel, who was tragically killed outside his Tallahassee home in July 2014.
The romance between Wendi and Dan blossomed when she was a student at the University of Miami’s Law School. She has been described as a brilliant pupil and a fun and quirky individual. The pair got married in February 2006, in Boca Raton, when she was 26. Then, they settled in Tallahassee, where Wendi worked at the Florida State University (like her husband). Everyone thought that the pair was perfect, and they even had two sons (born in 2009 and 2010).
However, Wendi admitted that their marriage fizzled out after the kids were born. She even said that she had tried to cheat the system by marrying a man that she was not completely in love with. She felt that Dan did not view her as an equal. When she released a fictional book about human trafficking called ‘This Is Our Story,’ she said that Dan refused to even read it. (But she did explain that it was logical for him to do so because of his dislike of the genre. It was not for lack of love).
But in September 2012, when Dan came back home from a business trip, he was greeted with an unfamiliar setting. A criminal affidavit stated that he reportedly found most of the furniture missing, along with his family. There were also divorce papers on a mattress. The husband tried to work things out with Wendi but to no avail. She filed a motion to move with the children to South Florida (where her family lives), but Dan blocked this attempt legally.
The divorce and custody battle was a bitter one. Dan called the events a “Pearl Harbor Style of Separation” in official documents. He also won a case where he had demanded that his mother-in-law would not have unsupervised visits with the children. Apparently Donna used to call him stupid and also said that she hated him in front of her grandchildren.
Later, Wendi started dating another FSU college professor by the name of Jeffrey Lacasse. But by the time Dan was murdered, the two had called off their relationship. During her interview with the police, she stated that Jeffery disliked Dan a lot because the latter had caused Wendi a lot of grief. The lawyer collaborated with the police at every step. She let them look at her phone, take swabs of her fingerprints, and photograph her.
In an interview with the cops, Wendi’s ex stated that the Adelson family hated the victim with a passion. Jeffery further revealed a conversation between Wendi and him: “She told me that Charlie had looked into having Danny killed in the summer of 2013. he meant it dead serious. He said it would cost about $15,000.” But Wendi simply stated that her brother made a lot of jokes in bad taste and this was one of them. A case in point was that he also got his sister a TV as a divorce present since it was the cheaper option.
Where is Wendi Adelson Today?
Eventually, authorities called Dan’s death was a murder for hire plot. An undercover FBI operation incriminated members of the Adelson family in the crime, but they were never arrested. Three people were indicted— Luis Rivera, Sigfredo Garcia, and Katherine Magbanua. It was alleged that the full custody of the children prompted the family to take this drastic step. But the Adelsons have always maintained their innocence. The family’s lawyer stated, “There has been a lot of unsupported speculation that the Adelsons had something to do with the murder. That speculation is categorically false. To be clear, none of the Adelsons — Wendi, her brother Charlie, or their parents Donna and Harvey — had anything to do with Dan’s murder.”
Wendi was given immunity before testifying at Garcia’s trial. When asked how she interpreted it, she said, “The state isn’t going to decide to arrest me.” But Judge James C. Hankinson stated that she did not have transactional immunity, further explaining its significance— “That means she could be prosecuted for the crimes involved but what she said cannot be used against her nor used for any leads to develop any information.”
There is also a fierce battle between Wendi and her former in-laws with regards to the children. Wendi stated that Dan’s parents had access to their grandchildren for 2 years after his death. But when she learned that they had spoken to officials about a foster home, she denied them the opportunity to spend time with the children, as is her right according to Floridian law. Wendi stated, “This is not about family separation; instead, this is a personal family matter about a mom protecting her children and doing what is in their best interest, to keep our family unit safe and secure.”
However, Ruth (Dan’s mother) was actually worried about a scenario where the incriminated (but not arrested) Adelson family members could be taken into custody in the future while babysitting when Wendi is not in town. In this case, even if temporarily, the kids would go to a local shelter. Hence, Ruth had contacted Jewish Adoption and Family Care Options (JAFCO) to ask about a backup plan for her grandchildren.
A statement released by JAFCO stated, “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.” Ruth and her husband, Phil, have also embarked on a mission to bring a change in the legislation of the state so that they may, one day, be able to meet their grandchildren again.
Wendi’s Facebook profile has revealed that she has moved with her children to Miami, Florida, where she is also presumably much closer to her family. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is an immigration lawyer for her own firm. She is also a Board Member of The Office of New Americans of Miami Dade County. She has changed her children’s last name to Adelson.
Read More: Where are Dan Markel’s Children Now?