By Therese Apel
JACKSON Miss. (Reuters) – The decomposed bodies of five children aged between 2 and 8 were found stuffed into garbage bags on Tuesday near a logging road in Alabama after their father confessed to killing them and led police to the scene, authorities said.
Timothy Ray Jones, the father of the children, did not reveal a motive for the killings, which he confessed to authorities in Mississippi, Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton said.
“I’m a father of two, and I can’t imagine what goes through a man’s head when he does this,” Crumpton said. “It was a horrible, horrible crime.”
The children, whose names have not been released, were reported missing from their home near Lexington, South Carolina, by their mother on Sept. 3, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
Jones had joint custody of the children with his ex-wife and was their primary legal custodian, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office said.
He confessed to the killings to authorities in Smith County, Mississippi, after he was pulled over on Saturday at a driver’s license checkpoint and arrested on charges of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance, Crumpton said.
Upon searching his Cadillac Escalade, authorities found what appeared to be chemicals used to make crystal methamphetamine, as well as the presence of what appeared to be bleach, hydrochloric acid, blood and possible bodily fluids, the Smith County Sheriff’s Office said.
The children were found in a rural area in southwestern Alabama, about 50 miles southwest of Montgomery, Crumpton said.
Jones is in the custody of the Smith County Sheriff’s Office awaiting extradition to South Carolina, Crumpton said.
(Reporting by Therese Apel in Jackson, Mississippi; Writing by Jonathan Kaminsky; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Sandra Maler)
Watch a report on Jones’ arrest, as aired on WLTX-TV, below.