Deputies: With bodies of wife, kids in his van, killer drove to Jacksonville

Michael Jones returned to Marion County to face 5 counts of murder

By Frank Powers - Assignment manager

Michael Jones is escorted by Marion County deputies after his first appearance on five counts of murder.

After killing his wife and four young children, Michael Jones drove to Jacksonville with their bodies in his van -- possibly to visit his ex-wife -- before driving on to Georgia, a Marion County deputy told News4Jax on Tuesday.

His wife's body was found in his van after Jones crashed in a ditch in Brantley County, Georgia. The bodies of the four children, ages 1 to 10, were found the following day buried along a wooded stretch of U.S. 301 in Charlton County.

Jones, 38, was returned to Marion County, where he was charged with second-degree murder, but he has yet to be charged with the deaths of the children. Autopsies on the victims are still being conducted in Georgia.

Casei Jones and her four children -- Cameron Bowers, 10; Preston Bowers, 5; Mercalli Jones, 2; and Aiyana Jones, 1 -- were last seen nearly two months ago near Ocala. Her family reported them missing the night before he was located in Georgia.

The Marion County Sheriff's Office said it's believed that Jones killed them in Florida weeks ago and stored their bodies until he drove them into south Georgia.

When Brantley County deputies arrived at the scene where Jones crashed, they reported smelling a foul odor coming from his van.

"At this point, Mr. Jones stated to the deputy that 'You may want to put me in handcuffs because there was a dead body inside the vehicle,'" the Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Michael Jones also admitted to concealing the death of other bodies just prior to the traffic accident.

Jones is on suicide watch in jail pending his Oct. 22 arraignment.

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