Feb 27, 2011
Cops: Zeller Turned To God Before Surrendering
Cops tell AMW that Zeller -- who looks dramatically different than his original photo -- was "tired of running," and turned himself in to the Gillette Police Department on Feb. 27, 2011.
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Less than 24 hours after he was featured on America’s Most Wanted, accused pedophile Wayne Ray Zeller was in the custody of the Gillette Police Department in Wyoming.
Cops tell AMW that the 49-year-old, who had been on the run for almost 10 years, finally got a conscience and turned himself in.
“He was in the presence of a pastor when he came to the Gillette Police Department to surrender,” said Cpl. John Lawrence. “Zeller claimed to have only been in town a few hours and said he attended church services earlier in the morning. That’s when he decided to talk to the pastor, who ultimately convinced Zeller to turn himself over to authorities.”
Cpl. Lawrence goes on to say that Zeller gave up his name, Social Security number and date of birth – and listed his address as “homeless.”
“He showed up with only the clothes on his back, no vehicle or baggage,” Cpl. Lawrence said. “We tried making small talk, and he refused to answer more questions, other than saying he was wanted out of Laramie County. He was pretty tight-lipped about what he’d been up to for the past decade and wanted to lawyer up before giving us any more information.”
AMW spoke with the arresting officer, Officer Owen Kimberling, who said that Zeller was “very scared and nervous” and “visibly shaking.”
“Zeller said, ‘this is the biggest decision of my life,’ and also remarked that he had been on the run for ‘way too long,’” Officer Kimberling said. “Once he said the U.S. Marshals were after him, I figured it was a high-profile case. Finding out he was featured on AMW was quite the shock for the department.”
After confirming Zeller’s warrant out of Laramie County, Wyo., Officer Kimberling personally transferred the accused pedophile to the Campbell County Detention Center, remarking that Zeller kept thanking him for being “so polite and nice.”
“The capture of Mr. Zeller was a huge accomplishment, and I really do appreciate what AMW does and what Mr. Walsh does,” Officer Kimberling remarked. “I believe Mr. Walsh is a great man and hopefully we can catch some more criminals together. Keep doing what you’re doing, AMW.”
U.S. Marshals tell AMW that Zeller will be extradited to Laramie County on Mar. 3, 2011. The 49-year-old faces two counts of third degree sexual assault of a child.
-- Jenny Allen, AMW Staff