Two Coast Men Arrested For Murder - - The News for South Mississippi

Two Coast Men Arrested For Murder

Harrison County deputies arrested two men Sunday in connection with Michelle Garrell's death. Kelvin Clark, 42, and Alton Welch, 39, both of Pass Christian, were both charged with murder.

Sheriff Payne says Clark was Garrell's boyfriend and Welch was a friend of Clark's. Payne says the motive for the killing was jealousy and that drugs and alcohol also played a role.

Crime scene tape was the only thing left Sunday to indicate that something happened in the woods off State Road 423. The dirt road runs off Riceville Road just barely inside the Harrison County line. The area is so remote, even deputies weren't sure which county they were in.

"The Stone County Sheriff's Department was called--they thought it was in Stone County," Sheriff Payne explained Sunday. "After some GPS ratings, we were able to determine the body was actually in Harrison County."

A group of men was hunting rabbits in the area around 6:30 a.m. Saturday. One of the hunters told WLOX News that after parking nearby, he noticed it looked like something had been dragged into the woods. When he went to check it out, he found the body face down in the grass.

"Real lucky that the body was found this early," Sheriff Payne said. "Conceivably, if we had not found it in the next two or three weeks before hunting season actually ended, it might have been next year before we had found the body."

Investigators combed the area for clues and searched missing persons reports to try to figure out who the victim was. On Sunday morning, Pass Christian Police provided investigators with information that Michelle Garrell had been reported missing.

"We were able to go to her residence, find documents at the house there, were able to put together some evidence in the truck of part of her clothing that we know were missing and tie the two together," Payne said.

Coroner Gary Hargrove listed the cause of death as asphyxia. Hargrove says she died Thursday, but would not say when her body was dumped in the woods.

Kelvin Clark and Alton Welch are being held at the Harrison County Jail tonight under a $1 million bond.

By Amanda Jones

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