Fairfield Twp. couple dead after apparent murder-suicide

A Fairfield Twp. couple is dead in what police believe was a murder-suicide.

At about 11:58 a.m. July 8, officers were dispatched to 5805 Brooke Meadows Court for a welfare check after the male homeowner had not been to work for a couple days.

Officers gained entry into the home where they located both homeowners, James Welber, 53, and his wife, Rebecca Welber, 52.

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James Welber had what what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head, according to police. Rebecca Welber had multiple gunshot wounds and was dead at the scene.

James Welber was transported by medical helicopter to University of Cincinnati Hospital Medical Center where he later died.

According to Butler County Clerk of Court records, the couple was in the process of a divorce.

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The police report indicates a Luger and Glock handguns with ammunition were found in the house. Three bullet casings were found in the bedroom, and a bullet was located in the hallway wall.

While the preliminary investigation points to a murder-suicide, the case remains under investigation.

The Butler County Coroner’s Office has ruled Rebecca Welber’s death a homicide following an autopsy Monday. She died of gunshot wounds, according to the coroner’s report.

James Welber had a gunshot wound to the head, said Terry Daley, Hamilton County Coroner’s Office spokesperson. But additional information has not yet been released.

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According to Butler County dispatch, a 911 call was not received concerning the apparent murder-suicide. Dispatchers here received a call from Hamilton County dispatch to meet a deputy at the residence for a welfare check. The Hamilton County deputy was already at the Welber residence when Fairfield Twp. officers arrived.

Fairfield Twp. Police Sgt. Doug Lanier said James Welber worked for Hamilton County Water and Sewer. Co-workers called police concerned after he had not been to work. According to the police report, Rebecca Welber was a FedEx employee.

Investigators believe Rebecca Welber’s shooting may have occurred on July 5 and James’ shortly after.

“I would say she had been dead a couple days,” Lanier said.

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When officers forced entry, the family dog was roaming the house.

A neighbor, Barry Allen, told this news outlet that he had seen the couple earlier in the week. Allen said he told police on Saturday that he had heard a dog barking for days.

“They just kind of kept to themselves,” Allen said of the Welbers.

Lanier said the couple was found in same bedroom of the house.

James Welber filed for divorce on March 24, according to Butler County court records. County Domestic Relations Judge Barbara Carter-Schneider signed a standard restraining order to both parties pertaining to finances, use of vehicles and insurance.

Hamilton Attorney Richard Hyde, who represented Rebecca, said the violent incident “came out of left field for me”

“We met on (July 3) and were working toward an agreement,” Hyde said. “They were very cordial to each other. There was never any indication of violence or even that there were guns in the house.”

He said Rebecca did not want the divorce and cared for James.

“She was a very nice lady and cared a lot for him,” Hyde said. “So sad, really terrible.”

Staff writer Michael D. Pitman contributed to this report.

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