A memorial for Jennifer Kitchens Wells has been set up on the side of Happy Valley Road. (WRDW-TV / Oct. 3, 2011)
News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Oct. 3, 2011
THOMSON, Ga. -- GBI investigators may not have final information about the cause and manner of Jennifer Kitchens Wells' death until the end of the week.
Assistant Special Agent In Charge Pat Morgan tells News 12 the autopsy has begun, but the medical examiner may not have a report for another week or two.
Toombs Circuit District Attorney Dennis Sanders says they are currently in the "accumulation" phase of the murder investigation.
"We're really in the very infancy of the investigation with trying to make sure we don't miss any of the evidence that may exist out at the scene. We're interviewing a lot of witnesses to see what they may have seen or heard," Sanders said. "The accumulation of all the evidence and processing the evidence -- that's where we are now."
Sanders says the medical examiner at the Atlanta Crime Lab may or may not be able to determine if Wells was shot and killed before she was dragged, but it's a question many are hoping can be answered.
Wells' family members tell News 12 they are just waiting for the autopsy to be complete so they can finally put her body to rest and put memories of this tragic killing behind them. Wells was a 36-year-old mother of a son and daughter, 15 and 5 years old. She lived in Glascock County, not far from the crime scene.
Investigators say Wells' ex-husband and an accomplice shot at Wells at Happy Valley Store then dragged her body with a vehicle at least 6 miles down Happy Valley and Purvis School roads.
GBI investigators are still processing the evidence from the extensive crime scene which spans McDuffie, Warren and Glascock counties.
In an incident report from Thursday night, McDuffie County officers explain they responded first to a shooting at the store and immediately notified nearby counties. Glascock County deputies were then on alert and found two suspects, Ricky and Tina Wells, near the Glascock/Warren County line at the end of Purvis School Road. The incident report says Wells' lifeless body was in the grass nearby.
The sheriff's offices from all three nearby counties, Georgia State Patrol, GBI, two coroners and the district attorney's office have all helped in the case.
At this time, Sanders said, because it seems as though the death actually occurred in McDuffie County, they will be moving forward with the case there. He said until all of the evidence is processed and presented to him, he can not say whether or not he will pursue the death penalty.
Flowers and crosses now dot Happy Valley Road in memory of Wells.