Donny Jackson is a father who is suspected of killing his two sons before abducting his two daughters from their Leavenworth, Kansas, home on Saturday. The two girls’ disappearance was the subject of a multi-state Amber Alert on Saturday that ended when Jackson was arrested near Erick, Oklahoma, and his daughters were found safe in the vehicle, officials said.
The Kansas Amber Alert Twitter account wrote on Saturday morning that “the two girls are believed to have been abducted by Donny Jackson, who may have been involved in a double homicide of two other children.”
Jackson is now being held in jail in Oklahoma pending his first court appearance, which is scheduled for Monday, KETV reported. Charges have not yet been filed but the outlet reported that investigators are working with the prosecutor to file charges in connection with the double homicide and abduction.
Here’s what you need to know about Donny Jackson:
1. The Amber Alert Was Issued on Saturday Morning After a Third Party Found the 2 Boys Deceased at Home & the 2 Girls Missing
Authorities told KETV that it’s unclear when the homicides and the abductions occurred. One of the kids didn’t show up to a soccer game, the outlet reported, so a family member went to the house and found the homicide scene. Sisters Nora Jackson, 7, and Aven Jackson, 3, were both missing.
The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI) posted to Facebook on Saturday morning, indicating that an Amber Alert was issued for Kansas and Missouri. It wrote, “At 1:16 p.m., the Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call from a resident in the 14900 block of Hillside Road, Leavenworth. The call led Deputies to discover a homicide scene with two deceased juvenile males inside the residence and two missing girls: Aven and Nora Jackson. The suspect in the abduction and incident is the father, Donny Jackson.”
Jackson was described as a “40-year-old white male, 5 ft. 11 in. tall and 190 lbs. He has brown hair and blue eyes.” The Leavenworth County Emergency Management’s Facebook page also posted about the situation and added that the “suspect is believed to be armed.”
KBI also stated on Facebook that the vehicle had been stopped for a routine traffic violation near the Oklahoma border before the 911 call about the homicides. Officials confirmed that the girls were in the vehicle and the Amber Alert was extended to Oklahoma and Arkansas.
2. Officials Found Jackson in Oklahoma Later on Saturday & He Was Taken Into Custody; the Girls Were Safe in the Vehicle
Later on Saturday, KBI reported on Facebook that “both kids are now safe and the suspect is in custody.” The Oklahoma Highway Patrol, which located and arrested Jackson, posted the details of his arrest on Facebook. It wrote, “Earlier this evening, one of our troopers overheard Beckham County broadcasting a vehicle matching the description of the amber alert vehicle, getting fuel at the 26 mm on I-40. Two of our troopers headed that way.”
An Oklahoma Corporation Commission Motor Carrier Officer saw the vehicle go by, according to the post, and turned on its emergency lights. Jackson’s vehicle stopped off the highway and the officer asked Jackson to get out of his vehicle, which he did. “Within 2 minutes of the stop, troopers and Beckham County deputies arrived and assisted in taking 40 year old Donny Jackson into custody,” police said.
3. Jackson Is Now in Jail in Oklahoma Where He Will Face an Extradition Hearing but Has Not Yet Been Charged
Jackson is currently in jail in Oklahoma, where he may stay for a few more nights depending on extradition from Oklahoma, the Leavenworth County Undersheriff told Heavy.
Charges have not yet been announced, KETV reported, but Jackson will probably appear before the court on Monday in Oklahoma. The undersheriff told Heavy he will likely be charged with felony murder but did not provide additional details. KETV also reported that Jackson may face federal charges for traveling across state lines.
The undersheriff told the outlet that family members would be traveling to Oklahoma to pick up the girls and bring them back to Kansas.
4. The Homicide Victims Were Identified by Family as Jackson’s Sons, Ages 12 & 14
The two boys have not been identified by authorities but a GoFundMe page for the children’s mother named them as Logan Jackson, 14, and Austin Jackson, 12. Their cause of death has not been publicly revealed at this time.
The GoFundMe campaign was set up by a close friend of the children’s mother, Tara Jackson. Heavy confirmed that the fundraiser has been verified by the platform. It states, “Tara is now faced with the overwhelming task of paying for a funeral for her two sons. She will also face many other unknowns in the future. Nora and Aven, were reunited with Tara after a multi state amber alert, will undoubtedly need help to get through this tragic event as well.”
5. Jackson Was in the Midst of a Divorce From His Wife, the Mother of the Children
KETV reported that Jackson and his wife were in the middle of divorce proceedings. Jackson first filed for divorce in August 2019, the outlet wrote, and he was representing himself after his attorney withdrew from the case in September. The next court hearing was set for November 12. The Leavenworth County Undersheriff told The Associated Press that Jackson had “on-again, off-again access to the children.”
Neighbors of Tara Jackson, the mother of the children involved, told KCTV that the couple lived apart and the two boys usually lived with Donny Jackson while the girls lived with Tara Jackson in Lansing. They also said Donny Jackson visited his daughters and wife frequently and had been there on Thursday. The estranged couple also has a baby together, who is pictured in Facebook photos of the family. KCTV reported that the baby was not involved in Saturday’s events.
The undersheriff told The Associated Press that investigators weren’t sure of the motive for the double homicide and abduction. He said, “there had been some back and forth with the family” but “at this time investigators are trying to determine what went on with the family dynamic that got us to this point.”