The bodies of five children have been recovered in Butler County, Alabama. The children have been missing since September 3. Timothy Ray Jones, their father, has been arrested on an unrelated charge and is being held in custody, reports WLTX. The children’s bodies were found dumped at the side of a highway in plastic garbage bags. Their bodies were badly decomposed when they were found.
Jones has confessed to the crime, according to authorities, but charges have not yet been laid.
Here’s what we know so far:
1. The Kids Have Been Missing Since September 3
State and local law enforcement have set up a command post off Highway 10 in Butler County! Find out why today! pic.twitter.com/dOd95oeMDt
— Bryan Henry (@BryanHenryWSFA) September 9, 2014
The children were first reported missing by their mother on September 3. She is the ex-wife of Timothy Ray Jones. According to WLTX, she had been unable to contact her ex-husband. WLBT reports the mother saying that she frequently couldn’t get in contact with Jones. It was only when she found out that her children hadn’t been in school that she raised the alarm.
Sheriff Lewis McCarty of Lexington County told the media that he made a promise to the children’s mother that he would bring the children home. He went on to describe the children’s mother as a “nice person, a very sweet lady.”
2. He Had Legal Custody of his Kids
— Beth Baldauf (@BethBaldauf) September 10, 2014
Timothy Jones was the children’s legal guardian. He was arrested on September 6 in Raleigh, Mississippi at a traffic checkpoint due a “connection,” according to WYFF to synthetic marijuana. Also in the car was children’s clothing and cleaning supplies.
WIS-TV reports that the children were killed in South Carolina and taken to Albama.
3. He’s Accused of Bringing His Kids’ Dead Bodies Across 3 States
— Mike DeSumma (@MikeDeSumma) September 10, 2014
According to reports, Jones had told neighbors in Lexington County, South Carolina, that he was taking his family to live in a different state. Jones led authorities to the bodies. Police think that the children were dead when they were transferred across three states. He’s being held at the Department of Corrections because sheriff’s deputies can’t guarantee his safety at the Lexington County Jail. Investigators still don’t know why the children’s bodies in Alabama.
4. There Was a Massive Search for the Kids
On September 9, WSFA reported that a large number of Alabama Bureau of Investigation agents and sheriff’s deputies had been searching a barren area close to Montgomery, Alabama. Due to the fact that he was the legal guardian, no amber alert was issued. The children were all aged between one and eight.
5. He’s a Graduate of the University of Mississippi
According to WYFF, Jones graduated from the University of Mississippi and his father still lives close to the school. He worked as a computer engineer.
WYFF further reports that there had been complaint of child abuse made against Jones in July 2014. After the children were interviewed, social services determined there was “no imminent danger.” A second round of interviews was due but never scheduled. Later, on August 28, Jones was charged with unlawful neglect, after he forced his 1-year-old, and four of her siblings, to sit on the road beside a Walmart in Lexington County.
He had a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2001 when he was arrested for criminal possession, cocaine charges and forging checks in Illinois.