Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Once again......why the children?
"I'm a father of two, and I can't imagine what goes through a man's head when he does this," stated Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton.
On Sept 3 2014, the ex-wife of Timothy Ray Jones, 32, contacted the Lexington County South Carolina police to report that she could not contact her husband. The couple had joint custody of their 5 children but he had the primary custody of them. She stated that this was not the first time that she had been unable to contact him in the past. Jones lived in a single-wide trailer in the 2100 block of South Lake Dr, Red Bank SC and worked as a computer technician. It has been reported by neighbors that Jones had told them he planned to move the family to another state before he abruptly moved out.
As of Sept 9 2014, lights still shown inside the family home, clothes and a hamper were strewn about inside and trash cans tossed around outside the trailer. After 6 pm Wednesday, Jones and the children were entered into the National Crime Information Center data base as missing persons.
At 9 pm Sept 6 2014, Jones was stopped at a traffic checkpoint east of Raleigh Miss and the children were not with him. The officer at the scene believed that Jones was driving under the influence and he became extremely agitated when he was questioned.
An investigator was called to the scene after police found what they believed were chemicals used for making synthetic marijuana "Spice" and methamphetamine. After a search of his Cadillac Escalade, they found bleach, muriatic acid, blood and what appeared to be body fluids. Jones was taken into custody for DUI and possession of a controlled substance. When the police checked his license, it was clear but the missing person alert showed up when they checked the vehicle's license plate.
Officers from the FBI, Lexington County deputies and State Law Enforcement traveled to Miss to help with the investigation. On Monday night, Jones finally confessed to killing the five children, whose ages ranged from 1 year old to 8 years old. Jones led them to where the bodies were along Highway 10, which was about 10 miles east of Camden Alabama. Each of the children were found in separate garbage bags. Police believe that he had killed them while he was in Lexington County SC and left their bodies in Alabama before traveling on to Mississippi where he was arrested.
The police in SC have obtained a warrant for Jones on the charge of unlawful neglect of a child by a custodial parent but they expect to obtain additional arrest warrants for him. They also expect to have him extradited to SC as soon as possible. The Lexington County Coroner Earl Wells was making arrangements for the bodies of the children to be returned to SC for identification and autopsies. The police have stated that they do not know what Jones's motive was for the killing yet. There will be a news conference on Sept 10 in the afternoon to discuss the case in more detail. I am not sure that there is any motive that could explain why 5 young children had to die.
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Update Sept 11 2014:
Police have stated that the Jones children were probably killed sometime after Aug 28 2014 since that was the last time that they were seen alive. The children, Merah, 8, Elias, 7. Nathan, 6, Gabriel, 2 and Elaine Marie, 1 were then placed in separate plastic bags and Jones then headed south towards Mississippi where his parents lived. They believe that he traveled through several states with the bodies before finally leaving them alongside the road in a makeshift grave. They added that they believe he had tried to mask the smell in the vehicle by pouring bleach over the bodies.
Jones does have a criminal record which started with an arrest in IL in March 2001 for cocaine possession. He was then arrested in Sept of that year for passing forged checks, auto theft and burglary. He was sentenced to concurrent six year terms with an additional year for another stolen car charge. He was released for jail on Jan 15 2003.
He did turn his life around it seems when he graduated from Mississippi State in 2011 with a degree in computer engineering. He was working for Intel in a $71,000 a year job and had been married for ten years until his recent divorce. His wife did not work outside of the home and did not possess a driver's license. A former neighbor who had lived next to the Jones's in Batesburg-Leesville SC stated that the children were often seen in dirty clothing and around the home all of the time. Jones had told them that he did not believe in public schools. They describe him as a "nut" who was constantly looking for reasons to argue and had once threatened to kill one of their dogs.
About two years ago, Jones found out that his wife was putting their children to bed at home and then sneaking to a neighbor's home to sleep with the 19 year old son who lived there. He moved out with the children and filed for divorce. A family therapist wrote in an affidavit for the court that Jones was a highly intelligent, responsible father who is capable of caring for his children as the sole custodial parent. She added that he was no stranger to responsibility since he had completed a difficult degree while being married, raising children and working more than one job at times. The report also stated that he focused on his children and had no problem in achieving any goal he had before him. Jones was awarded physical custody of the children and his ex-wife was given visitation of them. She reported them missing when he had failed to bring the children on Sept 2 for visitation where she was still living with the neighbor.
The police did not an Amber Alert at first because the children were with their custodial parent and they did not know if they were in danger. Neighbors of his stated that they had seen less and less of the children in recent weeks and he did tell them that the family would be moving. On Aug 7 3014, an abuse complaint had been lodged against him but DSS visited the home and did not find anything alarming there. They left the children in Jones's care and are not answering any questions about the family.
The bodies of the children have been returned to SC for autopsies and a memorial has been planned for Friday it has been reported. Jones has been charged with the five murders and will be returned to SC to face those charges. His father has stated that his son was a loving father and not the monster that the media is trying to portray him as. His ex-wife has not spoken publically and understandably, she must be devastated.
Further update Sept 11 2014:
The DSS files that pertain to Jones have been released and they show that they had first become involved with Amber and Timothy in 2011 when they were living in Batesville-Leesburg SC. They had moved from Mississippi a few months before when Timothy had gotten a job transfer. Someone had complained that the three children were dirty, the yard was filled with trash and they were not attending school.
The file shows that the caseworker made numerous visits to the family and counseled Amber to make sure that tools had been put away, the rooms cleaned and that the air vents were covered. She told the caseworker that she planned to home school the five year old and the other two children were too young to attend school. Timothy confronted the case worker on the fifth visit by phone and accused DSS of ruining people's lives. The sheriff was called for assistance because he had become very hostile. He was much calmer by the time he arrived at home and agreed to take the children to a motel while the home was cleaned. The follow up report for the home inspection ten days later stated that the home was very clean.
The caseworker visited several more times over the next six months without incident. By the end of April 2012, Timothy and Amber had separated and the children were living with her. They had four children by then and she was pregnant with a fifth. Three weeks later, Amber reported that Timothy had moved the children back to Mississippi and DSS in SC alerted Mississippi and closed the case in SC. There are notes that the caseworker advised Amber about a program for battered women and children.
The second complaint to DSS came in May 2014 and the caseworker went to the school that one of the boys was attending to investigate. The boy had a circular mark on his neck and Jones admitted grabbing him by his shirt and spanking him. He added that the boy was clumsy and bruised easily. The caseworker made several visits to the mobile home in Red Bank where he had moved with the children and found that they were happy even though they had not seen their mother in four months. DSS closed the case on July 24 2014.
Only two weeks later, on Aug 7, they received a third complaint stating that he had beaten his son. The caseworker and two officers went to the home and found the boy with a bandage over his eye. The boy stated that his sister had hit him with a doorknob and the babysitter confirmed the story. There was also a report that the children had not been fed properly. It was alleged that he would bring a 20 piece chicken nugget meal to feed all five children. The caseworker had planned on making another unannounced visit to the home Jones had just returned from taking the five children to Disney World and evidently had stated that he did not want the children to return to school because of the beating complaint earlier.
Jones has been returned to SC and is due to appear in court on Friday. The preliminary autopsy reports have been released and they conclude that the children were killed but the method used was not stated. The police allege that Jones had driven around with the children's bodies in the car for possibly as lond as a week before he dumped them beside the road where they were found.
Update Sept 20 2014:
Jones did not appear for his preliminary court appearance and he is being held in a maximum security facility and is considered a suicide risk. His arrest warrant details some of what is being said to be the reason for his killing the children. He had picked up the children at school and daycare earlier in the day and at some point, stopped at a Walmart in Lexington SC. He stated that he had made all of the children leave the vehicle because he felt that they were going to kill him, chop him up and feed him to the dogs.
It goes on to state that he returned to the family home with the children and it is believed that he killed them there soon after. They believe that he drove around with the bodies in his car for 9 days before he dumped them on the side of the road. He was found to have notes that detailed how to kill and mutilate the bodies. It has also been reported that Jones has been treated for mental illness in the past and currently, the prosecutor believes that Jones may have just snapped.