UPDATE: Community Grieves Homicide Victims, Theorizes Motive

4 years 1 month 2 weeks ago December 05, 2012 Dec 5, 2012 Wednesday, December 05 2012 Wednesday, December 05, 2012 9:38:00 PM CST in News
By: Meghann Mollerus
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MORGAN COUNTY - Community members speculate the motive for Monday night's double homicide of an elderly couple may have been prescription drugs.

The Morgan County Sheriff's Department would not confirm this information, but residents told KOMU 8 on Wednesday afternoon that 82-year-old Wayne Louis Wells was wheelchair bound and has been on prescription drugs since he was paralyzed in an automobile accident about two years ago.  The community members said Wells and his wife, 71-year-old Mable Irene Wells, were not wealthy and did not own technology.  They thereby suggested there was something else sought by the alleged intruder, whom police suspect broke into the Wells's home via the back door between 5 and 9 p.m. Monday evening and killed them.

Friends of Mable Wells disclosed to KOMU 8 that the woman's daughter believes the crime happened before 7 p.m. She said at that time each night, the couple always shared a popcorn snack--evidence that was not, according to the friends, present at the crime scene.  Authorities did not confirm this detail.

Morgan County Fire Department acting chief Wayne Marshall did disclose to KOMU 8 that there was an automobile accident Monday evening that occurred not too far up the road from the crime scene.  It happened around 7 p.m., according to Marsall.

"On Monday night, we had a young man overturn his car.  And he was life flighted out.  He also had a girlfriend...who was taken to the hospital by ambulance.  He's 24, and she's 35," Marshall said.

Marshall and community members indicated arrests were made following the crash, but neither Marshall nor the sheriff's department said whether there was a connection between the car crash and the murders or whether the individuals involved are being considered suspects.

As community members anxiously wait new information, they said they are nervous and have been locking their doors--something they said they never felt they had to do in the characteristically safe community. 

One resident told KOMU 8, "Everybody's talking about how if they don't have a gun, they need to get one."

Residents described the Wellses as kind and charitable.  Mable Wells's longtime friend and Great Sails Nail Salon owner Judy Spellmeyer described her as a compassionate woman who was involved in the town's Booster Club, which hosted local drives and bake sales to raise money for non-profits.  Spellmeyer said Mable Wells worked online for Jim Realty, located down the road from where the couple lived.  Of Mable Wells's relationship with her grandchildren, Spellmeyer said, "She just loved the time with them." 

Spellmeyer said both Mable and Wayne Wells have adult children from previous marriages.

Resident Dru Moses, longtime friend of Mable Wells, said the woman made sure her husband got the best care and rehabilitation after his life-altering accident.  She described the grisly crime as "shocking" to the community.

 Marshall said, "[Mable and Wayne Wells] were wonderful people and will be missed in the community.  I've had a lot of people tell me today it could happen to anyone, probably, but why those people?  They were so nice to everyone."

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