Timothy Ray Jones probed twice for abuse before murder of kids
Police released this image at a news conference Sept. 10 of the five children whose bodies were found dead in Alabama.
(NBC News) - The South Carolina father accused of killing his five kids was investigated twice for child abuse in the months leading up to the horrific crime, state officials revealed. In both instances, caseworkers found no reason to take the children away from Timothy Ray Jones Jr., who was being brought to South Carolina on Thursday to face murder charges. But one caseworker observed in an Aug. 13 report that "dad appears overwhelmed."
Police believe that Jones, 32, a computer engineer for Intel who won primary custody of the children in divorce proceedings, murdered them sometime after Aug. 28, drove their remains across three states, dumped their bagged bodies in the Alabama woods, and then went to Mississippi, where he was busted for driving his blood-soaked Cadillac Escalade while high on synthetic marijuana. A coroner was performing autopsies Thursday on the children, identified in court papers as Merah, 8, Elias, 7, Nahtahn, 6, Gabriel, 2 and Abigail, 1.
A summary of the Department of Social Services case file says the first contact child-welfare workers had with the family was in September 2011 when a complaint for neglect was lodged. In Family Court papers, Timothy Jones said his then-wife Amber was the target of the complaint. The state said that after services were provided, the case was closed a year later and Timothy Jones moved the children out of state.
They eventually returned to South Carolina, where an allegation of physical abuse by the father was made on May 5. One of the children told a caseworker that his father spanked him with a belt and made him do exercises as punishment. The investigators reported that they didn't see any bruises on the children, who appeared happy, and they found the home cluttered and filled with religious items but not unsafe.
Just two weeks after that case was closed, social services got another report of physical abuse. "It is reported that Timothy Jones beat his son...leaving extensive bruising," the case file notes. "Reportedly Mr. Jones beats the child often leaving bruising. Mr. Jones does not feed the children adequately...It is reported Mr. Jones does not want to send his children back to public schools because he does not want the school to report the beatings."
The case worker wrote that the children said that while they get spanked, they had no visible injuries. "Dad appears to be overwhelmed as he is unable to maintain the home but the children appear to be clean, groomed, appropriately dressed," the file says. That case was still open when the youngsters were killed.
Sunday, January 21 2018 12:50 AM EST2018-01-21 05:50:24 GMT
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