Man Charged in Marengo Shooting Death


Tonch L. Weldon


By Aaron Hepker

IOWA COUNTY - Authorities say a Blairstown man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of a woman. It happened on Sunday at 1040 L Avenue in Iowa County, just outside Marengo.

The Iowa County sheriff's office says that Tonch Weldon, 37, has been charged in the slaying of Amy Gephart, 36. Officials with the sheriff's office say that Gephart died of a single gunshot wound.

(Amy Gephart)

Officials say Weldon is under guard at an area hospital. An earlier news release indicated that a man was also wounded in the incident but officials are not saying if Weldon is that injured man.

Deputies were called to the house about 4:30p.m. on Sunday. Gephart's body was found inside.

Community members and friends say Gephart was living with Weldon and his wife. Officials have not commented on their relationship, but Julie Hawkins, a close friend of Amy's, says Amy and Tonch spent a lot of time together. "She was always big into nature and he was the same way. They liked to go hunting for mushrooms [and] fishing," says Hawkins.

Hawkins dated Amy for about five years. She has also known Tonch and Mandy Weldon for more than 15 years. Hawkins says Tonch is a good guy and doesn't know why he would've done this. "I have a hard time feeling for him right now because he took away my best friend."

The Community Reacts Friends of those who knew the family still can't believe what happened.

"He would do anything for anybody. If somebody came to his house and said I need help, he would be the first one to help you," family friend Chad Heyveld said.

"It's really shocking. She was a really good friend of mine. I can't imagine why. I really can't imagine why," family friend Shelly Steele said.

It will likely take quite some time before anyone truly knows what led to the violence.

"He's not a violent person. Every time I went over there, he was happy go lucky. I'm at a loss for words," Heyveld said.

Steele said, "She would do anything for you. She loved animals. She gave me the dog I have now. It's just hard to believe when something like this happens, especially in our small town."

Authorities are still trying to piece together all the details, but friends say the community will never be the same.

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