A Florida father allegedly murdered his wife and four children, then drove their bodies to Georgia after storing them in his home and van for several weeks, authorities announced Monday.
“True evil poked its head up here in Marion County,” Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said in a news conference. “That’s about the only best way to describe it.”
Casei Jones, 32, was found in the back of her 38-year-old husband’s car near Brantley, Georgia, on Sunday, after Michael Wayne Jones Jr. was stopped by Georgia police “following a traffic accident” about two hours away from the family’s home, the sheriff’s office said.
“You may want to put me in handcuffs because there is a dead body inside the vehicle,” Jones allegedly told police after they questioned the smell inside his car, according to WJAX-TV.
While being questioned, Jones, who now faces a second-degree homicide charge, admitted he had hidden his children’s bodies in the woods just before the traffic accident, the sheriff’s office said. A few hours later, authorities located four bodies, whom they believe belong to the four children.
“Although the remains have not been positively identified, detectives believe they are the remains of the four missing children,” authorities said.
Casei Jones was last seen with her children—Cameron Bowers, 10, Preston Bowers, 5, Mercalli Jones, 2, and Aiyana Jones, 1—in Ocala, Florida, over a month ago. Authorities did not explain why the five individuals were not reported missing until Saturday.
The sheriff’s office believes Wayne Jones Jr. murdered the five in their home in Marion County, Florida, then “stored the bodies at his home and in his van for several weeks before transporting them to Brantley County, Georgia,” the statement said. All five victims will be transported to the Medical Examiner’s Office of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to determine their exact cause of death.
A warrant was issued in Florida for Jones’ arrest on a second-degree homicide charge, but the sheriff’s office said they expect more charges will be filed soon.