Search fails to yield missing man’s body, but hunt for answers goes on

Published: Jul. 15, 2022 at 6:30 PM EDT
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WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - The search for the Burke County missing man Simon Powell off Ponderosa Road is over for now.

After two days of searching the woods and multiple ponds behind the road, Burke County deputies say they didn’t find what they were looking for.

Deputies push to bring Powell’s family closure is far from over.

On Wednesday, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office arrested 38-year-old Stacey Welch, charging her with murder, kidnapping and armed robbery in Powell’s death.

Stacey Welch
Stacey Welch(Contributed)

Sheriff Alfonzo Williams says he doesn’t believe she acted alone, and more arrests could come.

Powell was last seen on June 1, 2016. The next day, investigators found his truck burned.

In all that time, Powell’s family has never given up hope.

Simon Powell
Simon Powell(WRDW)

Just a few weeks ago, authorities renewed a spotlight on Powell’s case. The Burke County Sheriff’s Office had recently increased the reward for information on the case and issued an alert to be on the lookout for Welch, who was initially sought for questioning.

At the time the alert was issued, Wylds said her name had come up in the investigation and authorities wanted to question her to see what she might know.

What’s the next move for deputies?

Right now, there’s not a definitive answer for that. The search team cleared out of the area around 12:30 p.m. Friday saying they were done there, but the search isn’t over yet.

“We’re looking at some other properties, not necessarily searching those at this time we’re just trying to identify some other properties,” says Williams.


Looking into other possible ponds in this area, a neighbor told us that hasn’t changed much in the past few years.

“Now you’re looking for human remains and not necessarily a human body so we may find bones, we may not so that’s what we’re up against we’re trying to find Mr. Powell and it’s a tough job,” Williams says.

Limited resources and a precise search plan only drag out the search for the body of the logger who lived in Waynesboro.

“There’s only a few divers that we can get in the water at a time and it’s a grid search thing and it just takes time,” says Williams.

As of now, the sheriff’s office has told us there are no arrest warrants or a court date set for Welch.

What is known is that so far, the search on Ponderosa Drive has led to a dead end.

Moving forward with the search, the sheriff’s office tells us they are looking to use outside help, but wasn’t at liberty to say who they are bringing in.

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