RALEIGH, Miss. — The man accused of killing his five young children and dumping their bodies off a rural Alabama road was being extradited Thursday to South Carolina to face murder charges.
Before 8 a.m. Central time Thursday, Timothy Ray Jones Jr., 32, was loaded into an unmarked SUV and was leaving Mississippi for South Carolina — a trip of more than 500 miles.
He had been held in Smith County since his arrest Saturday at a traffic checkpoint. Jones eventually led authorities to the children's bodies, and Mississippi law enforcement officials say he confessed to killing all five of them — ages 8, 7, 6, 2 and 1.
He will face five murder charges in the deaths of his five children, officials in Jones' hometown of Lexington, South Carolina, have said.
On Thursday, Jones wore a striped jail uniform and protective vest as he was escorted into the SUV. Officials also loaded up boxes of evidence for the trip to South Carolina.
"He's in the hands of South Carolina authorities at this time," Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton said. "I feel sorry for what their next phase is."
Officials said the children were likely killed shortly after they were last seen in school and day care Aug. 28. Police didn't say how the children were killed, or where, except that it wasn't in their home.
Jones put each child's body in its own trash bag and loaded them into his 2006 Cadillac Escalade, South Carolina authorities said. He drove hundreds of miles and crisscrossed several Southeastern states for days, apparently using bleach to try to mask the smell of the decomposing bodies, authorities said.
Jones stopped at an isolated hilltop in central Alabama and left them near Pine Apple, 20 miles off Interstate 65 and about 65 miles south of Montgomery, officials said.
He then kept driving for several more hours Saturday until he reached the DUI checkpoint in Smith County, about 500 miles from his hometown. An officer said he "smelled the stench of death" along with chemicals used to make methamphetamine and synthetic marijuana. There was blood, bleach and maggots in the car.
A check of Jones' license plate showed his ex-wife had reported him and the children missing three days earlier when he failed to bring them over for visitation. He slowly acknowledged what happened to his children, and led police to their bodies Tuesday, authorities said. Only then did authorities go public with the case.
Divorce records listed the five children as Merah, 8; Elias, 7; Nahtahn, 6; Gabriel, 2, and Elaine Marie, 1. Elaine Marie was born Abagail Elizabeth but the parents agreed to a name change, records show.
Associated Press writers Jeffrey Collins in Lexington, South Carolina; Jay Reeves in Pine Apple, Alabama; Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Mississippi; Adrian Sainz in Amory, Mississippi; Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Seanna Adcox and Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, contributed to this report.