Ray City Shooters Extradited Back to Georgia

By: Chief Roy Bamburg; Eyewitness News; Greg Gullberg Email
By: Chief Roy Bamburg; Eyewitness News; Greg Gullberg Email

Update - 9-30-2011

The Ray City man accused of shooting and killing his land lady is now facing a felony murder charge for it.
Dennis Gene Welch Jr. is in the Berrien County Jail on charges of Felony murder for the death of 85-year-old Jamie Wright. Welch also faces a charge of burglary and Possession of a Firearm During Commission of a Crime. His girl friend Michelle Ziegenfuss is also in jail, charged with Financial Transaction Card Theft and Card Fraud.
Their first court appearance was scheduled for this afternoon.

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UPDATE - 9-28-2011 -

Berrien County jail confirms Dennis Welch and Michelle Ziegenfuss arrived around 5pm today after being extradited from Alachua County jail.

They are currently in the booking process and will finish around 7 or 8 tonight.

They will be separated, as men and women do not get locked up together in jail.

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Girlfriend of Accused Ray City Shooter Makes Accusations Against Him

by Greg Gullberg

Ray City, GA - "No, I'm not kidding! She called me three times yesterday and said Dennis shot Ms. Jamie," said Vicki Tyson who lived with the accused shooter Dennis Welch.

Welch is behind bars in Alachua County, accused of shooting and killing his landlord Jamie Wright.

His girlfriend Michelle Ziegenfuss fled with him, making her an accomplice.

Tyson says Ziegenfuss confessed her boyfriend's crimes to her from the jail house phone.

"I have no idea why they would have done it."

Welch and Ziegenfuss shared a double-wide trailer with Tyson, her son, and her two step kids.

She says the couple always spoke highly of Wright, but say it was money that drove Welch to the edge.

"She knew he was going over there to rob her."

Tyson says Welch went into Jamie Wright's house looking for money, but came out with blood on his hands.

That's when the couple stole Wright's car and took off for Gainesville, Florida, where authorities found and arrested them.

"Michelle, why did you not tell him just go on your merry way and stay here. You would have been safe."

Tyson says she told this to investigators.

But Georgia Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Russell Mansfield says they will not confirm anything at this point because he says there has been a lot of misinformation.

As of right now Dennis Welch and Michelle Ziegenfuss remain in Alachua County jail.

Currently they're each only charged with the theft of Wright's car.
Additional charges are pending and we'll be learning of them in the next few days.

G.B.I. is still tight lipped on the details in this case.

Dennis Welch and Michelle Ziegenfuss are expected to be extradited back to Berrien County soon.

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2 arrested in south Georgia woman's killing

Ray City, GA (AP) - The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says
two people have been arrested on charges involving the killing of a
Ray City woman.

The GBI says 33-year-old Dennis Gene Welch and 30-year-old
Michelle Lynn Ziegenfuss were arrested on Monday on warrants
charging them with theft by taking related to the killing of
85-year-old Jamie M. Wright.

Police say they were called to the woman's south Georgia home on
Saturday after relatives reported she had been found dead.

The GBI crime lab confirmed on Monday that she died of gunshot
wounds. Authorities say her pickup truck was found at the
Gainesville Fla. apartments where Welch and Ziegenfuss were
arrested.

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Update 9-26-2011 by Greg Gullberg

Police tape blocks off the home of Jamie Wright. "Ms. Jamie" as she was known locally. She was 85 and as neighbors say a pillar of the community.

"She always had to lend a hand to help anybody out," said Dohny Cooper.

"She was a very helping woman. I've seen her help more people in 2 months than some people would help in a lifetime," said Rebecca Stevens.

That's why they were stunned that anyone could hurt her. Jamie Wright was found dead in her Ray City home by family members on Saturday. She was last seen Thursday. Authorities say sometime in between then she was shot to death.

This morning Dennis Gene Welch Junior was arrested in Gainesville, Florida, around 6 am, for the shooting.

Wright was Welch's landlord in Ray City.

The Alachua County sheriff's office says they got a call from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation whose been handling the case.
Alachua sheriffs then found Wright's missing car, that sheriffs believe Welch stole.

That lead them to the apartment where he was. He did not resist arrest.

This has been difficult for Jamie Wright's family.

Her daughter, Colleen Bracewell, says, "We appreciate everyone's prayers. We know God's taking care of her now."

Dohny Cooper echoes that sentiment and hopes that justice will prevail against Welch. "There will be a judgment day, and he'll meet that judgment. That's the best I can say".

Dennis Welch is currently in Alachua County jail in Florida, but he'll soon he extradited to jail in Berrien County. where Ray City is located.

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UPDATE 9-26-2011

A Georgia man suspected of murdering 85-year old landlady Jamie Wright has been arrested.

Dennis Gene Welch Jr., 33 was arrested by the Alachua County Sheriff's Office on a Georgia Bureau of Investigation warrant.

The warrant charged Welch with murder for Saturday's death of 85-year-old Jamie M. Wright of Ray City.

Officials in Georgia developed Welch as a suspect in the case and put out a bulletin asking agencies in the region to be on the look out for his pickup, a blue Dodge Dakota.

Officials says Welch was arrested without incident at around 6:00 am.

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RAY CITY, GA -- September 25, 2011

On Saturday, September 24, 2011, at approximately 3:44 pm, Ray City Police were dispatched to the residence of Jamie M. Wright, W/F, 85 YOA, located on Jones Street in Ray City, Berrien County, Georgia. Ray City Police were dispatched in reference to a 911 call received advising Mrs. Wright had been discovered deceased inside her residence by family members. Ray City Police then requested the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Douglas office to assist in the investigation.

Initial Investigation reveals Mrs. Wright had been shot and an autopsy is scheduled to be conducted at the GBI Crime Lab in Macon on Monday, September 26, 2011.

Investigators are searching for Mrs. Wright’s 2002 Dodge Dakota, Navy Blue in color, last known bearing Georgia license plate ANL 5966, which is missing from her residence. No arrests have been made and investigators continue to follow leads and locate possible witnesses.

The investigation is still on-going; therefore no other details will be released at this time. If anyone has information pertaining to the investigation, please contact the GBII Douglas Office at 912-389-4103, GBI 24 hour number in Atlanta at 404-244-2600, or the Ray City Police Department at 229-455-2501


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  • by Robin on Mar 6, 2012 at 09:59 PM
    Dee, I just found out about all this. My prayers go out to all the families that are involed with this. I knew Michelle awhile back. We lost contact then last AJuly she e-mailed me. I hope hope she just did get messed up with the wrong person. God bless the families in this.
  • by Nancy Location: Ocala on Oct 21, 2011 at 07:56 PM
    I have known Shelly for a few years as she dated and lived with my son. It is terrible that such a wonderful and sweet lady was killed. I did not know her but I feel terrible for her family. I do know this though, Shelly had to have been very desperate to become involved with this man. I wonder if she knew about his past or she was lied to? Shelly has many low self esteem problems but I found her to be a generally good person. I can only wonder what would drive her to this if in fact she is guilty. I so wish I could have talked to Shelly before this and ask her what she was going through. When she moved I did not hear from her much. I do know she had many health problems, I did not find Shelly to be in it for a good time but more for security and love. Shelly has been to my home many times and never took a thing or ever cause any trouble whats so ever but always helpful.I can only guess and wonder what the family of Ms Wright is going through. I feel horrible about the whole situation and can only hope that Shelly is innocent. I did not know or ever meet Dennis. As for the comment about Shelly stealing things, I have never heard of Shelly being arrested for theft ever or anything else, where do you get this information from? I feel very badly for Shelly as she got herself into a very horrible situation and I believe that she may have been scared of this man. I too have never seen Shelly hurt anyone or anything and always saw her being kind to others.
  • by mandy Location: haysville on Oct 7, 2011 at 08:53 PM
    When i lived in Ga she was my landlady she was more of a grandma to my three brothers and myself.. sweet sweet lady loved her went to church with Mrs jamie wright why would anyone want to hurt her i pray for her and the family R.I.P MRS JAMIE WE ALL LOVE YOU....
  • by know her for a long tine on Oct 3, 2011 at 03:57 PM
    I have know mitchelle for a long time if a guy will give her love and a good time she is all for it. michelle is just as bad as dennis she could have stop him any time or went to the police. As for dennis put the key away and never bring it out. Michelle has ALWAYS stolen and now she was with the wrong person so she should pay for her crimes..I don't think she was part of the killing, but she knows more then what she is saying....from what people tell me and from what michelle had told me:(
  • by Kay on Sep 29, 2011 at 02:20 PM
    I have known Michelle for 13 years and she has never been involved with anything remotely like this. If anything she is too gullible and believes what everyone tells her. Sadly, she met the wrong guy and obviously had the wrong friends in Georgia. No matter the circumstances this man she met should receive the death penalty for taking a life if/when he is found guilty. I will wait until all of the facts are brought to the fore before I make a judgement about Michelle. The victim, her family, friends are in my prayers. I can't cast stones since I am not without sin myself.
    • reply
      by Dee on Sep 29, 2011 at 04:21 PM in reply to Kay
      Kay, thank you for the support. I apologize to Rose, for thinking she was Michelle's friend whose name is also Rose. Like Kay, I have know her since she was 14 years old. She would give a person the shirt off her back if she thought it would help them. And yes, she is gullible when it comes to men. She, like so many abused women, will believe anything her man tells her. Then, after they "dump" her, will cry for hours. Maybe she was afraid for her life after she realized what he had done. After all, someone having killed once may not think twice about killing again. What I do know is that she does not have to ask anyone to forgive her other than Jesus Christ. And that is my fervent prayer, that she repents of her sins and believes in the Lord, Jesus Christ. Then she will enter Heaven and not Hell. Any good Christian would pray this for her.
      • reply
        by SUSAN on Sep 29, 2011 at 08:23 PM in reply to Dee
        I DONT UNDERSTAND IF MICHELLE WASNT WILLING TO GO WITH HIM. THEN WHY IS SHE ARRESTED TOO. AN HAVING 4 FB SOUNDS A LITTLE STRANGE TOO. BUT WHO AM I TOO JUDGE. I DO LNOW THERE ALOT OF HURT AND ANGRY PEOPLE AND BY READING THESE COMMENTS I CAN SEE EVEN MORE.WELL IF MICHELLE WAS A NICE GIRL AN WASNT WILLING THEN I HOPE SHE SEES JUSTICE. BUT THEN I WOULD NEVER LET A MAN GET OVER ME LIKE THAT. NO MAN IS MORE IMPORTANT THEN ANOTHR LIFE. THIS IS VERY SAD WHAT HA S HAPPEN AND I PRAY THE LORD WILL BE WITH ALL THIS AND PUNISH ONLY THE GUILTY. IT WOULD B ENICE TO KNOW THAT THIS GIRL WAS INNOCENT. AND NOT THE EVIL PERSON WE ALL THINK SHE IS. AND ALOT THINK THAT BECAUSE THEY HURT THERE ANGRY ALLS EVERYONE KNOWS RIGHT NOW THEY FLED TOGETHER AN FOUND TOGETHER. IF THATWAS ME I WOULD OF CALLED THE POLICE IN THOSE 3 DAYS ON THE RUN. IM SURE SHE COULD OF TOLD SOMEONE WHAT HAPPEN AND THEN IF SHE WAS NOT WILLING TO GO WITH HIM . THEN THE POLICE WOULD OF KNEW FOR SURE SHE WAS NOT WILLING BECAUSE MAYBE NOW SHE WILL BE PUT IN PRISON EVEN IF SHE DID NOT GO WILLING WITH THIS MAN DENNIS. I AGREE WITH ROSE HE SHALL BURN IN HELL AND I DO KNOW GOD KNOWS WHO GUILTY AND WHO WILL BURN IN HELL. SO I HOPE FOR JUSTICE TO BE SERVD CORRECTLY AND I PRAY FOR COMFORT AND STRENGTH FOR THE JAMIE WRIGHT FAMILY. YOU ALL OUR IN MY PRAYERS R.I.P. GOD BLESS U JAMIE YOU R FINALLY HOME . THE GREATEST PLACE TO BE " HEAVEN "
        • reply
          by Dee on Sep 30, 2011 at 06:16 AM in reply to SUSAN
          I have been shot twice in a robbery. Nobody knows how they will react until a gun is pulled on you for the first time. I was fortunate to survive. However, my two coworkers were not. When a person pulls a gun, you can either comply and hope to survive to tell about it, or resist and be killed. You don't have time to think about. If you were told that if you were to tell someone, you would be shot as well as the person you told? Would you not want to protect them and NOT tell them. What if your man never left you out of his sight? How would you tell someone? There are alot of unanswered questions. GBI says there are conflicting stories. We may never know what really happened. Let us just pray that God will bring the truth out. Confess your sins and the truth will set you free. This is not to say Freedom from jail, but Freedom of Conscience. Thank you for your prayers.
      • reply
        by karen on Sep 30, 2011 at 11:29 PM in reply to Dee
        well what do u know now dennis killed her an michelle spends money off ms.jamie card these are sick people. these two were together and now will be punished. wonder what they bought that was important to kill over. sick sick people out there
  • by i knew ms. tyson says Location: ray city on Sep 29, 2011 at 12:24 PM
    ok i read here that ms. vicki tyson said she knew he was going there to rob her and get money but came back with blood on his hands. i think ms. vicki should be held responsible too. she knew she could of called police and told them before this all went down and saved a beautiful woman life. ms. vicki tyson said she knew he was going there and never called police then he comes back in blood and she still never calls police.either way she could of saved MS.JAMIE life. so i think we all should find her guilty and they should charge her also. she is a cold hearted woman too for not caring what happens to ms. jamie. i knew this whole bunch and they all wanted money. who to say thou ?? i dont understand why ms. vicki tyson has not been arrested. last i knew of if u know of a crime about to committed u r to report it. and then u for sure knew the crime was committed. you r to report it. why would this lady not do so because there more too it thats the only reason to hide it because ya guilty too. i hope they get you too ms. vicki u could avoided all this. but instead or a cold hearted greety person too.
    • reply
      by susan on Sep 29, 2011 at 08:05 PM in reply to i knew ms. tyson says
      I READ THAT TOO. I AGREE SHE COULD OF SAVED MS.JAMIE WRIGHT LIFE. SHE SHOULD BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE ALSO.
      • reply
        by Bernie on Sep 30, 2011 at 06:18 AM in reply to susan
        I reread that article. I think that Ms. Tyson what referring to Michell telling her that she(Michelle) saw blood on his hand and that she(michelle) knew he was going to rob her. I don't think that ms. tyson knew about it.
  • by Retired_Deputy_Fla Location: Wakulla on Sep 28, 2011 at 04:28 AM
    To "Jennifer In Greensboro & Tabitha In Tallahassee" who posted the remarks "Law abiding gun owner at the end of his rope" And "The killer probably was a law abiding gun owner. Nice, clean cut white male",,You 'BOTH' need to get your facts straight before making statements that only Prove your Ignorance.This "Convicted Felon" ,By law could not posses a firearm,Thus NOT a 'LEGAL' gun owner,angry or otherwise and was NOT a clean cut male,But he was White,The ONLY thing correct in your remarks.
    • reply
      by WoW on Sep 28, 2011 at 08:41 AM in reply to Retired_Deputy_Fla
      I am pretty sure Tabitha was being sarcastic. Jennifer, I'm not so sure about.
    • reply
      by Bernie on Sep 29, 2011 at 04:42 PM in reply to Retired_Deputy_Fla
      What I would like to know was where he got the gun? If he was going to rob her, it stands to reason he didn't have money enough to buy one off the street. Of course, I don't know what the going price for a gun is on the street, so who can say.
  • by Darla Smith Location: Indiana on Sep 27, 2011 at 05:04 PM
    Well everyone should thank the Michigan Department of Corrections for this tragedy! This man was an absconder from parole in Michigan! And was clearly a career criminal. Feel free to check out his rap sheet with Michigan Dept of Corrections @ http://mdocweb.state.mi.us/otis2/otis2profile.aspx?mdocNumber=263057. Michigan is closing prisons and paroling any offender on their earliest release date. If I were this woman's family I would defintely be demanding some serious answers from Michigan and Govenor Rick Snyder!
  • by Jennifer Location: Greensboro on Sep 27, 2011 at 10:10 AM
    Law abiding gun owner at the end of his rope. Upset with the president and everyone. Was "the quiet type". Goes on a shooting rampage. How many more out there? There's always a first time for those gun owners. Never say never..you're not immune. Take away the guns from those boys now mom!
    • reply
      by wendy on Sep 28, 2011 at 12:01 AM in reply to Jennifer
      GOOD NIGHT JENNIFFER. SLEEP IT OFF YOU IDIOT.
      • reply
        by LOL on Sep 28, 2011 at 08:38 AM in reply to wendy
        Think it worked?
  • by AB Location: GA on Sep 27, 2011 at 07:39 AM
    People like this are why we have the death penalty.
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