Timothy Ray Jones, Jr., the 32-year-old man who reportedly killed his five children, drove for days with the decomposed bodies in his car, and buried them in rural Alabama, waived his first court appearance in South Carolina. According to Jones’ attorney, the decision not to appear in court is because his client is being portrayed as a monster but also, a mental health evaluation is needed as quickly as possible.
During a court session on Thursday, officials with social services said the Jones’ home had been visited at least 12 times over the past three years, in part to investigate allegations of abuse. The officials went on to say that during the visits, all five children appeared happy and well-adjusted even though they did receive spankings on occasion.
At no time during the visits did officials feel there were viable reasons to remove the children from the home. However, documents also reported that as a single father, Jones, who worked as a computer engineer, faced challenges associated with raising the children.
Just two weeks prior to the children’s disappearance, social workers went to the Jones’ home. They stated in their report that the father seemed to be overwhelmed although the children were clean and appropriately dressed. Other visits were performed by authorities during the time Jones and his wife were divorcing.
Jones moved the family to Mississippi after graduating with a computer engineering degree and securing a $71,000 a year job. However, according to neighbors, the wife of Jones had stated she was lonely and felt that moving to Mississippi to be closer to his family was a huge mistake.
For over two years, Jones sought professional counseling. In reports from various sessions with the therapist, it was noted that he was responsible and highly intelligent while at the same time, emotionally bankrupt and angry over his wife’s alleged affair. His attorney confirmed that Jones had been treated for mental health issues in the past although specific problems were not revealed.
Jones’ attorney goes on to say that unlike public perception, his client is scared and unsure of the legal process. He believes that if Jones had shown up for the initial court appearance, a potential jury pool would have been tainted, thereby preventing him from getting a fair trial. While Jones will eventually be transferred to a state prison for safety purposes, he is currently in isolation on suicide watch in Lexington.