BOISE, Idaho – An Idaho sheriff says new evidence makes him confident there is no ongoing threat to the community following the arrest of a 22-year-old man connected to a triple killing.
Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney gave few details Friday about the active investigation into the killing of an Arizona power company executive, his wife and their adult son but says a diamond engagement ring taken from the home where the killings occurred has been recovered.
Detectives for several days had been trying to connect the ring to Adam M. Dees of Nampa.
Prosecutors say when Dees was arrested Wednesday he had credit cards belonging to one or more of the victims.
He’s faces charges of grand theft and forgery, and is being held on $2 million bail.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
An Idaho sheriff has appealed for the public’s help to determine what might connect a slain former Arizona power company executive, his wife and their adult son to a 22-year-old man who prosecutors say was arrested with credit cards belonging to one or more of the victims.
Bail was set at $2 million Thursday for Adam M. Dees of Nampa, who faces three counts of grand theft, three counts of forgery and a misdemeanour count of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit.
Prosecutors said a 9 mm handgun was found tucked into Dees’ waistband. They didn’t disclose whether it was linked to the killings.
Dees is not charged with murder.
The victims found Tuesday in a home in the foothills outside Boise have been identified as 80-year-old Theodore M. Welp, 77-year-old Delores Elaine Welp and their son, 52-year-old Thomas P. Welp. No motive or cause of death was released.
Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney has said the killings were the most violent he had seen in three decades in law enforcement.
Besides asking for help in uncovering any possible connection between Dees and the Welps, authorities were looking for information on a wedding ring they believe Dees tried to sell. They didn’t know if it was linked to the killings.
The Welps formerly lived in Arizona, where Theodore Welp was the chief of Tucson Electric Power Co. in the 1980s. Some blamed him for the company’s financial downfall.
The Arizona attorney general’s office conducted an investigation into the financial dealings, but the probe did not result in charges.
The killings took place in what records say is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home on about 20 acres with a total value of about $800,000. Theodore and Elaine Welp owned the property, which also had horses and other buildings.
“No words can adequately express the grief and despair we are feeling,” the Welp family said in a statement issued through the sheriff’s office. “These were kind, caring and generous people who meant so much to us and have been senselessly taken from us.”
Theodore and Elaine Welp were involved with charitable organizations, including one that funds research on vision impairment and blindness.
Police arrested Dees on Wednesday at an electronics store.
Prosecutors listed a handful of other sites where they said he used the credit cards, forged the names of the homicide victims, and later was identified by workers.
Dees’ father, Steve Dees, told the Idaho Statesman that his son told his family he found the credit cards.
The young man wore restraints but appeared relaxed during his appearance in Ada County Court via a video feed from jail.
In a clear voice, Dees said “no” when asked by Judge Theresa Gardunia if he would be able pay the bail.
Defence attorney Isaiah Govia sought bail of $25,000, noting his client had no previous felony convictions. He also said Dees was put on suicide watch after being arrested because he is bipolar and schizophrenic and didn’t have access to his medication.
Gardunia ordered Dees to return to court March 26.