Murder victim loved his friends |

Murder victim loved his friends

by F.T. Norton
Appeal Staff Writer
Adam Wells' family described him as a charismatic bodybuilder who was charming, funny and amazing. Wells was killed Oct. 5. Danny Shaw, Tyler Cruz and Juan Cervantes Jr. have been arrested in connection with his murder.

Adam Wells’ family will tell you friends were the most important thing in his life.

“He would never miss an opportunity to hang out at a friend’s house or go camping with them,” said his sister, Jennifer. “He had so many friends that it was hard to keep their names straight.”

But making friends came easy to the charismatic bodybuilder. He was charming and funny and amazing, his family said.

All of those things Wells, 20, was.

And all of those things his family and friends will miss.

Wells was killed Oct. 5 and his body left in the hills of east Carson City. Three “friends,” Danny Shaw, Tyler Cruz and Juan Cervantes Jr. have been arrested in connection with his murder.

“If I was in the kitchen when Adam came home, more often than not he would give me a big bear hug and lift me off the floor,” his mother, Donna, said. Her chuckle at the memory was shaded with exhaustion and sadness. “It’s hard knowing I won’t get a hug like that anymore.”

Born in Klamath Falls, Ore., on April 29, 1985, Wells was only 3 months old when his family moved to Lake Tahoe and then a year later to Carson City. Wells attended Fritsch Elementary, Carson Middle and Carson High schools. At the end of his freshman year, the family moved back to Oregon only to return to Carson in 2002. Wells took a job with Nevada Fitness as a sales associate and worked his way to assistant manager.

In August, he moved out of the Stanford Drive home he shared with Danny Shaw, and back in with his parents. It was a conscious decision he’d made to do something productive with his life, said his father, Jerry, deputy director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Wells was interested in nursing, possibly an extension of his passion for physical fitness. He begin taking a full schedule of classes at Western Nevada Community College working toward that goal.

“He was pretty excited about it. He was taking philosophy and sociology and math courses,” Jerry said. “He was planning to do personal training to help supplement his income. He just received his certification.”

Big sister, Jennifer, 23, said, as kids, she would protect Wells. But as he grew older, the 6 foot 2 inch “baby brother” became the protector.

As the boy grew into a man, other things changed as well, his family said. As a child he was afraid of heights. As a young man, he was a daredevil.

“He loved to ride his motorcycle at high speeds. He refused to back down from a challenge and would try most anything once. He wanted everything in his life to be big, from his body to his truck to his television,” Jerry said.

Still, some things didn’t change.

“He was always very lively, very inquisitive, good natured and happy,” Jerry said. “His friends were his main priority. He was very social, that’s where he spent his energies.”

Often times as boys grow into men, fathers become impressed with the person they’ve grown into. Jerry was a little envious of his son’s charisma. He was most proud of his son’s determination and caring.

“He had such a big heart,” he said.

“What you saw was what he was,” Donna said. “He wasn’t afraid to show who he really was. When so many of us put on facades of who we are, he was true to himself and he was dedicated to his friends. He lived life big. He just got the most out of it that he could. Adam just was a neat kid.”

A memorial for Wells will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at FitzHenry’s Chapel of Faith.

n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.