***UPDATED at 5:53 P.M. on Thursday, May 23rd***
A triple homicide with the bodies burned is certainly grisly, but it's even more disconcerting now that we've learned the person authorities believe is responsible is the 26-year-old son, and brother of those victims.
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office only recently confirmed that, but it's something that's been on neighbors minds since this happened.
By all accounts the home on Pinnacle Place Drive housed a good, strong, Christian family:
“For a family…a man, a good man, a good family to be murdered…from what I heard…it doesn't make any sense,” says neighbor James Spellman.
Now, in front of the home are displays of flowers and condolences are growing…and earlier up and down the streets, speculation spread:
“To kill those people and burn them up, it was a crime of passion and they were trying to cover it up,” says neighbor Robert Patten.
While some neighbors questioned how such a thing could happen:
“It couldn't be him. He was such a good man. Why would somebody take him and his wife's life?” Spellman asked.
Others took a dark guess:
“If it's a crime of passion, you're probably talking relatives or someone who got angry, that's just my gut feeling,” Patten said.
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office says that gut feeling was right. They say that three members of this family: Edna, Roosevelt, and Russell Jones were shot inside their home, leaving grisly amounts of blood. The person responsible, the Sheriff's Office now says, is the family's own son, own brother, 26-year-old Ryan David Jones.
The crimes were discovered when another brother, Steve Jones, requested a welfare check, saying he hadn't heard from this close knit family in days.
Neighbors tell us that Roosevelt Jones vigilantly served on Pinnacle Place's crime watch, and the former head of that group says that makes this crime all the more confusing: “I'm trying to grasp it myself, laying in bed thinking about it, meditating on it,” Spellman said.
There is a vigil scheduled for Thursday night at the corner of Pinnacle Place Drive and Pinnacle Way. It is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
A fund has been established to help the Jones family as they prepare to bury their parents and brother. Checks can be made to “Augusta Deliverance Memorial Fund”.
For more information, call 706-736-7015. The checks should also be sent to the church. The address is:
Augusta Deliverance Evangelistic Church
2028 Roosevelt Drive
Augusta, Georgia 30904
***POSTED at 3:13 P.M. on Thursday, May 23rd***
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has made an arrest in connection to a triple homicide in Hephzibah in which three charred bodies were found in a wooded area.
The Richmond County Sheriff Office has charged Ryan David Jones with 3 counts of Murder, and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime in relation to the bodies discovered off of Matthew Court (Initial reports indicated that the incident location was Mickey Court, however, after verification from the Richmond County's GIS site, it was found that this unmarked street is Matthew Court). Jones was originally being held as a Person of Interest.
After a media release, investigators received a phone call from Steve Jones, who requested the Sheriff's Office check on the welfare of his family at 3729 Pinnacle Place Drive, in Hephzibah. Steve Jones advised he had no contact with his parents, Roosevelt and Edna Jones, or his brother, Russell Jones, since Monday, May 20th.
Deputies arrived at the residence and observed the family vehicles at the residence. Deputies forced entry into the residence per the request of the family and discovered large amounts of blood inside the residence.
After obtaining search warrants for the residence and reviewing the scene, it was the common consensus among experienced Violent Crimes investigators that multiple murders had occurred within the residence.
Crime Scene investigators who had processed the original scene viewed photographs of Edna Jones, Roosevelt Jones, and Russell Jones located within the residence and found that the bodies discovered earlier had the same appearances of Roosevelt Jones, Russell Jones, and Edna Jones.
During autopsies of the three bodies located in the fire, it was determined that each victim had been shot at least once. Ballistics evidence recovered during autopsy and at the residence was later compared to a firearm belonging to Ryan Jones and recovered at the time he was taken into custody, proved to be a match.
Investigators are still awaiting dental confirmation to officially identify the victims. However, based on the totality of the evidence collected thus far, interviews with family members, property and vehicle records…investigators have no reason to believe that the bodies located off of Matthew Court are anyone other than the remains of Roosevelt, Edna, and Russell Jones.
Ryan Jones is the son of Roosevelt and Edna Jones.