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Son suspected of killing own mother, 2 sisters in Mother's Day massacre shot dead hundreds of miles away

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A Mother’s Day massacre left a woman and two of her daughters dead in Mississippi, officials said. The suspect died later hundreds of miles away.

According to the Ridgeland Police Department, a man later identified as Ivory James Welch III, was the lead suspect in the death of his mother and two sisters when he fled town and the state, getting as far as Arizona before he was shot dead in a shootout with state troopers.

Ridgeland Police Chief Brian Myers says officers received a call about the triple homicide around 3:30 p.m. Sunday at a home on Old Canton Road in Ridgeland, WLBT reported. He identified the victims as Ida Thomas Welch, 76, Vicky Renee Welch, 56, and Crystal Lynn Welch, 42.

“This horrific event will have a lasting effect on this family, the officers involved in this investigation as well as our brothers in Arizona law enforcement,” the police chief said.

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The Mississippi officers were subsequently notified that their suspect was killed in Arizona on Monday afternoon.

According to the police chief, an arrest warrant for Welch was obtained and the U.S. Marshals Task Force began searching for him. He was ultimately located by Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers between Morenci and Clifton, according to AZFamily.

Officers from the Greenlee County Sheriff’s Office and the Clifton Police Department assisted in the Arizona pursuit, per the report.

Brian Myers

Once found by the law enforcement officers, a gunfight ensued, according to Myers.

“Arizona State Troopers attempted to apprehend Welch and he fired upon the troopers and was fatally wounded in the gunfight,” he said.

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Myers added: “This investigation is a great example of how teamwork in law enforcement, as well as a great relationship with our media outlets, affords us swift justice for a grieving family.”

Mississippi ACLU released a statement remembering Crystal Welch, who served as Board President since 2023.

“I just cannot process today’s news,” Executive Director Jarvis Dortch said. “Crystal was a great friend and since 2023, she was an enthusiastic leader of the ACLU of Mississippi Board of Directors.  She was always asking what more she could do to support our team and our work. Our staff and board will forever be grateful for her commitment to equality and justice. Her passion for life, infectious spirit and enthusiasm will be missed.”

Highway in Arizona

It continued: “On behalf of ACLU of Mississippi, I would like to express our heartfelt condolences to Crystal’s family during this unthinkable time. We urge the community to join us in sending prayers to the Welch family.”

“Crystal was just a true delight. She was just a superwoman. She was a fun, loving intellectual. Very passionate about her work,” her friend, Colendula Green, told AZFamily.

Authorities have not identified a motive for the fatal shootings. 

“He may have been upset about a funeral and his birthday, which was on Friday,” Chief Myers said, per AZFamily.

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