Bratt grad suspect in deaths of five in Florida

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BRATTLEBORO — A graduate of Brattleboro Union High School is a suspect in the killing of his wife and four children and is being held without bond in Florida.

According to published reports, Michael Wayne Jones Jr., 38, was apprehended after he crashed his van in Georgia and police found his wife's decomposing body in the back.

"Go ahead and arrest me, my wife's body is in the back," Jones told the Georgia police officers at the crash scene, according to Sgt. Paul Bloom of the Marion County Sheriff's Office in Florida.

The high school confirmed Thursday that Jones graduated in 1999, and a June 1999 graduate list includes Michael Jones' name. But Jones doesn't appear in any yearbook from 1995 to 2000.

The day before his arrest, relatives of 32-year-old Casei Jones of Summerfield, Florida, had notified police that she and her four children had been missing for six weeks.

Nikki Jones, the mother of Casei Jones, told WESH, an Orlando, Fla.-based news station, that her son-in-law apparently killed the family in their Summerfield home and drove around with their bodies for weeks. After he was arrested, Jones led investigators to the remains of four bodies in nearby Charlton County. Police believe the bodies are those of Cameron Bowers, 10, Preston Bowers, 5, Mercalli Jones, 2, and Aiyana Jones, 1. Because the bodies had been hidden for so long, medical examiners are still working on positively identifying them. Two of the children are children of Michael Jones and two are his step-children.

"I hope he sees their faces. I hope he has nightmares every night," Nikki Jones told WESH.

Police believe it took several weeks for family members to contact them about their missing relatives because Jones was fooling them by using his wife's phone to send text messages.

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"The red flag, which for anybody that knew Casei, was when she didn't post anything [to Facebook] for her son's birthday," Sarah Gilbert, Jones's sister, told ABC 9 in Florida.

"I knew something was wrong, but I didn't think he would kill them," Nikki Jones told WESH. "Didn't think he would kill my babies. Why would he do that? ... [H]e's a monster. He's the biggest monster I know."

Michael Jones is facing one count of murder, but it is likely he will be facing four additional counts of murder, officials say.

When police went to the Jones' home in Summerfield, they said the home looked as if it had been vacant for "several weeks." When the landlord let them inside, police described smelling the "foul odor of decomposition." Investigators believe Jones probably kept their bodies at the home for about three weeks before he put them in his van, where they remained for several weeks more.

"All we need to know is that's evil. And evil did something. And evil needs to pay for what he did," Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said during a recent press conference. "As far as I'm concerned, as the sheriff of this county, underneath the jail ain't good enough. He has no right to walk the face of this earth."

Bloom told media outlets that Michael Jones had no previous record and that there had been no prior calls to the family home.

The Reformer has reached out to family members in Windham County but has not yet heard back.

Bob Audette can be contacted at 802-254-2311, ext. 151, or raudette@reformer.com.


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