On ID this week, 48 Hours on ID: NCIS investigates the murders of Tammy Welch and Ricky Wiltrout. Both these individuals had fathers who were navy men, and both had their lives taken from all too soon.
Tammy Welch was a ten-year-old girl who was brutally raped and murdered by her neighbor James Jackson, who then managed to escape justice for nearly 30 years.
Ricky Wiltrout was a 30-year-old store clerk who disappeared without a trace after a night drinking with his friends.
The murder of Tammy Welch
On August 27, 1984, Tammy Welch and her younger sister Jennifer were playing in their apartment complex in Jacksonville, Florida. Jennifer went back inside the apartment for a short time, and when she returned, she discovered her sister’s dead body.
Tammy had been raped, beaten about the head, and strangled to death. Her body was lying just feet away from the window of her killer. James Leon Jackson had been a suspect at the time, but the police didn’t have enough evidence to pin the murder on him.
In 2013, 29 years after the killing, advancements in DNA evidence meant that investigators were able to confirm Jackson as the killer, and he was arrested and charged.
In 2018 a jury spared the 66-year-old Jackson the death penalty, meaning he will spend the rest of his natural in prison. Jackson was suffering from severe cognitive decline at the time of the trial and also registered an IQ of only about 68. It is unclear what his mental condition was at the time of the murder.
The murder of Ricky Wiltrout
Ricky Wiltrout was the son of a naval officer living in Norfolk, Virginia, when the 30-year-old went missing while out drinking with some men he knew from the local area.
The grocery store clerk vanished in September 1997, seemingly without a trace. However, In February 1999, a surveyor sighting lines along a fence that ran through Navy property on the base found scattered skeletal remains.
The identity of the remains remained a mystery until Witrout’s brother, Scotty Wiltrout, telephoned NCIS officers after he saw a news report about the remains.
Using family DNA and dental x-ray records, investigators were able to identify the skeleton as Ricky Wiltrout. A proper investigation by NCIS was delayed by the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen and the 9/11 terror attacks.
However, a breakthrough was finally made in 2003 when three men who had been out drinking with Ricky, Marcus Gilmore, Eddie Hughes, and Randy Shell, all pleaded guilty to his murder.
Investigators had discovered that Gilmore had purchased a gun just before Randy’s murder. The NCIS officers then learned through interrogations that Gilmore had shot Randy in the back of the head without provocation. The other two men had then helped him to cover up the killing.
More from 48 Hours on ID: NCIS
Follow the links to read about more murders profiled on 48 Hours on ID: NCIS.
Naval Officer Corey Allen Voss was brutally gunned at a gas station having been sent on an errand by his wife. It later transpired that Voss’s wife, Catherina, and her lover, Michael Draven, had orchestrated the killing in the hope of collecting on a life insurance policy.
Navy Police Officer Zachary Littleton was leading a double life and was cheating on his wife with Samira Watkins. When Watkins became pregnant, he decided to end the affair by strangling her to death.
48 Hours on ID: NCIS airs at 8/9c on Investigation Discovery.