Man accused of killing Troup County woman had lost wife to COVID-19, friend says

TROUP COUNTY, Ga. — Police have arrested a man who killed his girlfriend in Troup County Sunday just months after he lost his wife to COVID-19.

Police said they were called to a home in LaGrange in reference to a man having a mental health crisis. Police learned the man had killed his girlfriend and was threatening to kill himself.

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When deputies arrived at the scene, they were able to find the man, identified as 37-year-old Jay Davis Gamel, and detain him. Gamel was covered in blood and had minor injuries.

Deputies found a woman dead inside the home with injuries to her head. Police have identified her as 47-year-old Tracy Shepard of Lanett, Alabama.

Gamel has been charged with one count of murder.


A friend of Gamel’s reached out to Channel 2 Action News and said that Gamel lost his wife to COVID-19 in September.

Jennifer Lynne Dollar Gamel, 40, died of the virus on Sept. 6. Her father also died of COVID-19.

That friend told Channel 2 Action News that his friend was really struggling with his mental health and feelings of guilt after his wife’s death.

“What he did was wrong 100% and he cannot come back from that, but I’m not sure if he has anyone in his corner to share what he’s going through.” they said. “He’s not ok and hasn’t been ok.”

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The friend said Jay Gamel believed he gave his wife COVID-19. Gamel posted at length about his grief over losing his wife on his Facebook page.

Researchers have found that six months after getting COVID-19, one in three people had psychiatric or neurological illness. The study found that for one in eight patients, it’s the first time they got anxiety or depression.