Idaho sheriff gives all-clear following triple killing

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — There is no ongoing threat to the community following the arrest of a 22-year-old man connected to a triple killing, an Idaho sheriff says.

Ada County Sheriff Gary Raney gave few details in a statement Friday about the active investigation into the killing of an Arizona power company executive, his wife and their adult son but said 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, and Raney had appealed to the public for anyone who had seen Dees with the ring to come forward. Raney said Dees had been trying to sell the ring.

"A few days ago, I could not confidently tell you not to be concerned about your safety," Raney said in the statement released Friday afternoon. "Today, I feel comfortable saying that you can sleep peacefully tonight."

Prosecutors at Dees' court appearance on Thursday said that when Dees was arrested on Wednesday he had credit cards belonging to one or more of the victims, used them at various stores and forged the names of the victims. Prosecutors said workers at the stores identified Dees.

Dees is not charged with murder. He's charged with three counts of grand theft, three counts of forgery and a misdemeanor count of carrying a concealed weapon without a permit. Prosecutors said a 9 mm handgun was found tucked into Dees' waistband, but they didn't disclose whether it was linked to the killings.

Dees remained in custody on Friday in the Ada County Jail on $2 million bail.

Dees' father, Steve Dees, told the Idaho Statesman that his son told his family he found the credit cards.

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.

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.