Assault, child-abduction suspect jailed following manhunt

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A parolee allegedly beat his girlfriend severely near
their Pauma Valley home early Tuesday before fleeing with their 5-month-old son
and threatening to do harm to him, prompting an eight-hour manhunt that ended
with the father's arrest and the safe recovery of the baby.

Deputies investigating a reported domestic dispute shortly after 1:30
a.m. found the battered woman, whose name was not released, in a neighborhood
off the 22000 block of State Route 76, sheriff's officials said.

The victim told investigators her boyfriend, 42-year-old Kenneth Wayne
Welch, had attacked her during an argument as they sat with their son inside a
parked vehicle in the area, not far from their home on the La Jolla Indian
Reservation, Lt. James Bolwerk said.

The badly hurt woman managed to escape and run off, after which Welch
drove away with the child, also named Kenneth, Bolwerk said. Medics took the
victim to a hospital for treatment of serious injuries to her head and face.

Authorities, meanwhile, issued a statewide child-abduction alert while
trying to locate Welch, who was believed to be armed with a knife, a threat to
the baby and possibly suicidal, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Several hours later, a relative of Welch's who lives in Oceanside called
the police to report that the suspect had dropped off the infant and then
left, the lieutenant said. The child, who was unharmed, was taken into
protective custody.

Shortly before 10 a.m., deputies spotted Welch driving through western
Vista. Following a brief road and foot chase, they arrested him in the 1100
block of Marine View Drive, just east of South Melrose Drive, Bolwerk said.

Welch was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of
attempted murder, assault, child endangerment, domestic violence, evading
police and violating conditions of his parole. He was being held without bail
pending arraignment, scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Categories: KUSI