In 2003, the citizens of Arcadia, Florida, saw a brutal murder when police discovered John Welles’ corpse in a ditch. A murder investigation was launched when the teen, last seen at 11:30 a.m. on July 8, 2003, failed to reappear in the following hours. Season 4 of ‘CounterClock’ details John’s death and follows the listener through the police investigation conducted to learn the truth.
What happened to John Welles?
John Welles, a high school senior, was a charismatic and loved community member. Colleagues and friends alike remarked on John’s generosity and friendliness. The teenager and his family lived in Arcadia, Florida, and he was an active member of the Fort Ogden Methodist Church.
On the evening of July 8, 2003, John went shopping at the neighbourhood Walmart before heading home at 11:30 p.m. A big crowd gathered at the Welles home in seconds and started searching for the teenager. However, John’s grandma Pat did phone the police to report her grandson missing. Later, in a tragic event, John’s corpse was found in a flooded ditch beside Joshua Creek. There was also the victim’s vehicle nearby.
People quickly told detectives where the youngster was, but police didn’t arrive until 24 hours after he went missing. Unfortunately, the crime scene had already been messed with at the time, and important evidence had been stolen. Still, after a preliminary investigation, officers concluded that John had fallen into the water, hit his head on a metal object, and drowned. However, the investigators quickly realised they were dealing with a murder inquiry when an autopsy revealed John had a gunshot stuck in his brain.
Who is Responsible for the Death of John Welles?
Without witnesses or good leads to examine, the first investigation into John’s murder was delayed. Listeners to the podcast find that John’s grandma Pat destroyed evidence from the murder site before police arrived, delaying their first investigation. She was one of three persons who found the corpse in Joshua Creek. Pat denied any involvement in the crime when questioned.
Law enforcement officials investigated not just Pat but also Pat’s stepson Skip and John’s pal Patrick Skinner. While Skip was emphatic about his innocence, police couldn’t go anywhere with him because he denied involvement in the murder. In 2006, Sara contacted the police and said she had information about John’s death. When questioned, Sara said she had a violent relationship with Kevin Callahan, 19, who knew how John died. Kevin never confessed, but he informed Sara he possessed a firearm that matched John’s bullet. The programme mentioned that detectives didn’t investigate this lead.
In 2017, 14 years after John’s murder, a new autopsy report indicated that the revolver slipped out of John’s holster as he attempted to descend from his car, hit a piece of metal, and accidentally fired, killing the victim in the head. Two experts in their fields, a forensic pathologist and a weapons reconstructionist, independently reviewed the report and reached the same conclusion. Thus, John’s death was ruled an accident, ending the police’s murder inquiry. John’s death is still regarded as an accident, and no one has been arrested.