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1 dead, 2 held in McDuffie slaying

THOMSON, Ga. - Two McDuffie County residents have been charged with murder in the death of a woman who was shot and then dragged down a rural road.

The body of Jennifer Kitchen Wells, 36, of the 3000 bock of Anthony Lane in Gibson, was recovered about five miles west of the Happy Valley Store south of Thomson, where the shooting occurred about 10:19 p.m. Thursday.

A blood trail began with a pool across the southbound lane of Wrens Highway. It trailed through the dirt parking lot of Happy Valley Grocery Store, then west for miles on the westbound lane of Happy Valley Road.

Ricky Charles Wells, 43, of the 900 block Hobbs Mill Road near Dearing, and Tina Ann Wells, 40, of the 1200 block Davis Circle in Boneville, were arrested in neighboring Warren County, by Glascock County Sheriff's deputies. The suspects were taken to the McDuffie County Law Enforcement Center in Thomson.

Pat Morgan, the agent in charge for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, could not confirm the relationship among the three people who shared the same last name. He said the interviews and investigation will continue.

Morgan and McDuffie County Sheriff Logan Marshall confirmed there was evidence at the scene of the victim's body being dragged.

"At this time I'm not going to get into why it was so vicious," he said.

Marshall, whose department was first to respond to the scene, said there was blood evidence near the store and indications that two vehicles had left the scene.

Calls went out to nearby agencies. Thomson police set up a roadblock. Warren and Glascock county deputies were on alert.

"Two vehicles were spotted in the area of Purvis School Road and Georgia Highway 80, which is actually in Warren County," Marshall said. "From that location Glascock County Sheriff's officers approached the two vehicles, and it was determined that the two occupants were suspects in the shooting at the Happy Valley Store in McDuffie County."

Morgan said an autopsy is scheduled today at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Lab in Atlanta. He would not discuss the condition of the body.

Morgan said cooperation among agencies was key to making the arrests.

"If it hadn't been for this teamwork, we'd probably be standing here today asking for the public's help in identifying these suspects," he said.

Web posted on Friday, September 30, 2011

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