South Carolina father held in deaths of five children

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Timothy Jones, Jr. (MS Dept. of Public Safety)

Authorities in Mississippi are holding a father of five in the deaths of his children, ages 1 to 8, the state’s Department of Public Safety said Tuesday evening.

“The seriousness of this violent crime is unconscionable,” said Albert Santa Cruz, Mississippi’s public safety commissioner.

Timothy Jones Jr., 32, is being held in Smith County on child endangerment charges and is awaiting extradition to South Carolina for prosecution.

The children, reported missing from South Carolina last week, were found dead in Alabama on Tuesday, authorities said.

Their remains were discovered off a dirt road in Wilcox County, said Sgt. Steve Jarrett of the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

Jones led law enforcement to the crime scene, Jarrett said. No other details were immediately available about how the children died.

A multi-state search for the children and their father involved the FBI and state law enforcement agencies. It was launched after the mother told Lexington County, South Carolina, sheriff’s investigators on September 3 that she has been unable to contact her former husband.

“Neighbors told deputies that the children’s father said he was moving with his children from his home near Lexington to another state,” said Lexington Sheriff Lewis McCarty.

Jones and the children’s mother were divorced and he had primary custody.

On Saturday, Jones was taken into custody in Mississippi on suspicion of driving under the influence. When his SUV was towed, authorities found evidence of a crime, the state’s Department of Public Safety said.

A check of the National Criminal Information Center found he was wanted in South Carolina.

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