Timothy Ray Jones Jr., a 32-year-old South Carolina father, was detained in Mississippi this week after allegedly confessing to murdering his five children, whose bodies were found inside individual garbage bags on an Alabama roadside today.
The deceased range in age from one to eight years old. The children's mother, who is divorced from Jones, reported the children and Jones missing last week, the Clarion-Ledger reports. She told police she was unable to reach her ex-husband, with whom she shared custody of the children, and that it wasn't the first time he had fallen out of contact. Jones' neighbors in Lexington County, South Carolina, reportedly told police he said he and the children were moving out of state.
On Saturday, Jones was stopped at a drunk driving checkpoint near Raleigh, Mississippi, while driving a Cadillac Escalade, according to the AP. Cops determined him to be drunk and found what they believed to be Spice synthetic marijuana and materials for making meth in the car. A background check led to the missing persons for Jones and the children, and at some point, he allegedly confessed to their killing, then led authorities to the bodies, which were found off a dirt road near Camden, Alabama.
Neighbors told the AP that the children were often dirty and disheveled and that Jones had a history of erratic and violent behavior:
Johnny Hyder said the children were often dressed in dirty clothes and were seen home at all hours of the day because Tim Jones had said he didn't believe in the public schools. Hyder said Jones was constantly looking for a reason to argue and often threatened to call the police. He said Jones approached him with a gun on his hip one day and was angry about something, but Hyder couldn't remember what it was. When Hyder said he was going to call police, he said Jones told him it was only a BB gun.
"It wasn't a BB gun," Hyder said. "It was a real gun. I know what one looks like, but I didn't want to cause any more trouble."
"I'm a father of two, and I can't imagine what goes through a man's head when he does this. It was a horrible, horrible crime," Smith County sheriff Charlie Crumpton told the Clarion-Ledger. "As tragic as it is, and it's terribly tragic, at least it didn't last long. We had to get some closure for their mother."