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Five missing S.C. children found dead in Alabama; father suspected

The bodies of five children who disappeared from a South Carolina town were discovered in Alabama late Tuesday afternoon, and their father is suspected in the grisly slayings, a law enforcement official told the Los Angeles Times.

Butler County Sheriff Kenny Harden told The Times that police in Smith County, Miss., contacted his office Monday night, saying they had a man in custody who confessed to killing his five children before “dumping their bodies” somewhere between Greenville and Camden in Alabama.

The children’s bodies were discovered about 4 p.m. Tuesday in a wooded area near Highway 10, east of Oak Hill, Ala., Harden said. Each child’s body was decomposed and held in an individual plastic bag, according to a statement released by Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton.

The victims’ father was identified late Tuesday as Timothy Jones Jr. of Lexington County, S.C., according to Crumpton. During a news conference near the crime scene in Alabama, State Police spokesman Sgt. Steve Jarrett told reporters that Jones led investigators to the crime scene.

Crumpton said Jones was arrested at a DUI checkpoint in Raleigh, Miss., about 9 p.m. Saturday. Sheriff’s investigators noticed an odd chemical smell coming from his car, and Jones became “extremely agitated” when questioned, Crumpton said.

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Police found chemicals used to manufacture methamphetamines, synthetic marijuana, bleach, muriatic acid, blood and what might have been bodily fluids in the car, Crumpton said.

It was unclear how the children, ages 1 to 8, died or where the killings took place.

Earlier Tuesday, the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina issued a release saying the children were last seen with their father near their home on Sept. 3. The children’s mother, who is divorced from Jones but has joint custody, reported them missing.

Wilcox County Dist. Atty. Michael Jackson told the Associated Press that the children’s father was suspected of killing them. Crumpton said Jones was also charged with driving under the influence and drug possession in Mississippi.

According to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Office, the father had told neighbors he was moving out of South Carolina with his children.

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT for breaking news.


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