ORLANDO, Fla. — A Marion County man has been charged in the deaths of four children whose bodies were found with their mother in Georgia several weeks after they were reported missing.
- Marion man charged with homicide in deaths of 4 children
- Bodies of wife Casei Jones, 4 kids found last month in Georgia
- Marion officials say 2 kids were strangled, 2 others drowned
Michael Wayne Jones Jr. was charged Monday with four counts of first degree premeditated homicide in the deaths of his two children, Mercalli and Aiyana Jones, and two stepchildren, Cameron and Preston Bowers.
He was already facing a second-degree homicide charge in the death of 32-year-old Casei Jones, the children's mother.
The mother and four children were reported missing September 14. Casei Jones's family told Marion County Sheriff's officials that they hadn't seen her for at least six weeks.
Michael Jones was found the next day after a vehicle crash in Brantley County, Georgia. Marion Sheriff's officials said Jones told authorities at the time that Casei Jones's body was in the van he'd just crashed. He also led authorities a wooded area where they found the bodies of the four children.
Detectives think Michael Jones killed his wife by blunt-force trauma at their Summerfield home July 10. The next day, he strangled the two older children, and two weeks later, drowned the two youngest, they said. He stored all the bodies in the van for two weeks before driving to Georgia, investigators say.
Michael Jones remains in the Marion County Jail in Ocala.