3 arrested in Oconomowoc slaying; plot to gain child's custody alleged
By Mike Johnson of the Journal Sentinel
Updated: Nov. 19, 2009 1:31 p.m.
Waukesha — Kimberly Smith was murdered in her Oconomowoc home Oct. 1 as part of a plot for her ex-boyfriend to get custody of their 4-year-old son, authorities said Thursday in announcing the arrests of the ex-boyfriend and two other men on homicide charges.
Darren Wold, 41, the ex-boyfriend, is accused of conspiring with a longtime friend, Jack E. Johnson, 65, formerly of Waukesha, to kill Smith, and Justin Patrick Welch, 26, of French Camp, Calif., is accused of traveling to Wisconsin and stabbing her to death, Chief David Beguhn said during a news conference at the Waukesha County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities on Oct. 27 had identified Welch as a suspect in the homicide after his DNA was found on a knife and latex/vinyl-type gloves recovered in a sewer drain near Smith's home in the 300 block of S. Maple St., according to court records.
An arrest warrant was issued for Welch that charged him with first-degree intentional homicide. At the time, police said Welch might be driving a Jeep Patriot that was reported stolen in California.
Investigators launched a nationwide manhunt for Welch, and through their investigation, connected him to Johnson, of Obrero Rosarito, Mexico, Beguhn said.
Authorities placed an alert with U.S. Customs and Border Protection asking that they be notified if Johnson attempted to cross the border.
Johnson was taken into custody about 1:10 p.m. Wednesday as he attempted to enter the United States.
About 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Welch was arrested by Mexican authorities after a brief vehicle pursuit near Rosarito, Mexico. Police were attempting to stop the Patriot because it was stolen, Beguhn said. Welch was turned over to U.S. authorities.
Both Welch and Johnson are being held in the San Diego (Calif.) County Jail.
Johnson is charged with party to first-degree intentional homicide.
Wold was arrested Wednesday night at his Lubbock, Texas, home. He is being held in jail there on a charge of party to first-degree intentional homicide.
All three men are being held on $2 million bail.
Smith, 39, was found dead about 9:30 a.m. Oct. 1 in her home in the 300 block of S. Maple St. Her hands were bound and she had been stabbed a number of times, court records state.
Her 4-year-old son, Jackson, was home at the time of the slaying but did not witness the killing.
Smith's current boyfriend, who lived with her and Jackson, found Smith's body in the living room and called 911. The boyfriend said he had left for work about 6 a.m. and returned after learning that Smith didn't show up at her job, according to Beguhn.
Welch's ties to Wisconsin are not known, and investigators do not know if Smith knew him. Smith's relatives told investigators that they do not know Welch.Technorati Tags: Oconomowoc,custody,news,Mike,Johnson,Journal,Sentinel,Waukesha,Smith,authorities,homicide,Darren,Wold,friend,Jack,Justin,Patrick,Welch,French,Camp,Calif,Wisconsin,death,Chief,David,Beguhn,conference,Sheriff,Department,vinyl,sewer,Maple,records,degree,Jeep,Patriot,California,Investigators,investigation,Obrero,Rosarito,Mexico,Customs,Border,Protection,About,Mexican,vehicle,pursuit,Police,Both,Diego,Jail,Lubbock,Texas,bail,times,Jackson,room,boyfriend,stolenNote: Cross posted from [wp angelfury] Whos Killing Families?.