Recent Arrests I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

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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