Sheriff: Jones will be charged with murder upon return to Lex. Co.

Published: Sep. 10, 2014 at 9:51 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2014 at 3:31 PM EDT
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Timothy Ray Jones, Jr. in custody in Mississippi (Source: WLBT)
Timothy Ray Jones, Jr. in custody in Mississippi (Source: WLBT)
The five Jones children. (Source: Lexington County Sheriff's Department)
The five Jones children. (Source: Lexington County Sheriff's Department)

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A man who authorities say killed his five children and dumped their bodies on a rural road in Alabama will arrive in South Carolina sometime overnight, authorities said.

Timothy Ray Jones, Jr., 32, signed a waiver of extradition Wednesday morning in Smith County, Mississippi.

Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton said he had legal counsel present.

Authorities from South Carolina are expected to pick up Jones around 7 p.m. central time.

"We have people in Mississippi ready to bring him back," Lexington County Sheriff Lewis McCarty said.

Jones will be held in a Department of Corrections facility.

"I would be concerned about his safety in the Lexington County jail," McCarty said.

While Jones assisted authorities in locating the bodies of the children, he has not indicated why he killed them, McCarty said.

"He was relatively calm," McCarty said. "But he did lead them to these bodies."

Authorities on Tuesday afternoon found the bodies in individual garbage bags off of Highway 10 in Wilcox County near Camden, Alabama.

"I would say that they would be in an advanced state of decomposition," McCarty said. "I feel, and we feel, that these children were killed very early on. We feel that he killed the five children at the same time. He traveled three states with these children in garbage bags in the back of his vehicle."

A timeline of events released by the Lexington County Sheriff's Department indicates the last time anyone saw the five Jones children alive was Aug. 28.

Those five children have been identified in court documents as Merah, 8, Elias, 7, Nahtahn, 6, Gabriel, 2, and Abagail Elizabeth, 1.

Between 6 and 6:15 p.m., Jones picked up his three school-age children from their school and the remaining children from their daycare.

The three school-age children were not in attendance at their school on Friday, Aug. 29 or Tuesday, Sept. 2.

Jones' ex-wife reported that he and the couple's children missing on Wednesday, Sept. 3. Jones had been scheduled to take his children to his ex-wife the day before. The couple had been married about ten years before the divorce was finalized.

Jones worked as a computer engineer. McCarty said investigators seized his computer and it was in the process of being downloaded.

McCarty refused to name the children until their autopsies are conducted. He said autopsies will be done Thursday.

He said sharp-eyed officers in Mississippi triggered the investigation. They noticed blood, a large amount of cleaning products and a strong odor in Jones' vehicle.

"What was the determining factor there was what was found in the vehicle," he said. "We did not know at the time, but we felt very deeply that harm had come to these children when they were not present."

Sheriff Crumpton said Jones told him he had been zig zagging on back roads since he left the state of Alabama, trying to avoid law enforcement. His final destination was Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Lexington County officials are continuing to piece together what happened. It's clear that the case has left a mark on the sheriff.

"I'm a father and a grandfather," McCarty said. "And in all of my years in law enforcement I have never seen a case like this. It's hard to work a case with one child or one murder, but five is extremely hard. This case is not going away anytime soon. This case will be investigated years from now."

"We all see things in our career that have an impact on you," he said. "This case has impacted everyone from SLED, the FBI and the Lexington County Sheriff's Department that had anything to do with it."

The children's remains are back in South Carolina. Lexington County Coroner Earl Wells will conduct autopsies to determine causes of death.

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