South Carolina father held after his five children are found dead in Alabama

Posted at 8:52 AM, Sep 10, 2014

(CNN) – Timothy Jones Jr. told neighbors in South Carolina last week that he was moving his children from their home near Lexington to another state.

On Wednesday, the father of five was being held in a Mississippi jail in the deaths of his children, ages 1 to 8, according to the state’s Department of Public Safety.

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

The 32-year-old 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 multistate 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 are divorced. They shared custody of the children, according to the Lexington County, South Carolina, Sheriff’s Department.

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.