Bibb principal’s brother charged in triple slaying

lfabian@macon.comMay 23, 2013 

Ryan David Jones

Appling Middle School Principal Steve Jones gave Richmond County investigators the lead they were looking for in a triple homicide this week.

Jones reported his parents and younger brother missing Tuesday from their Pinnacle Place Drive home in Hephzibah, which led sheriff’s investigators to the house near Augusta, where large amounts of blood inside indicated there had been multiple killings, according to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

On Thursday, deputies charged Jones’ brother Ryan David Jones, 26, with three counts of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime.

After the sheriff’s office in Augusta issued a statement about the discovery of three unidentified bodies Tuesday about noon, the Macon principal was concerned because he had not heard from his parents or brother since Monday.

Firefighters found the burning bodies -- believed to be Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones -- in a fire in the woods by a new subdivision under construction.

Autopsies have yet to confirm the identities of the Jones family members, but investigators are confident all three missing members of the Macon educator’s family were shot to death at their house before their bodies were burned.

Investigators found family photographs in the house that seemed to match descriptions of the remains.

Ryan Jones was picked up for questioning Tuesday night and was held as a person of interest while ballistics testing was done on his gun, which officers confiscated when he was taken into custody.

Bullets recovered from the bodies proved to be a match, a release from the sheriff’s office said. The sheriff’s office has not divulged a possible motive in the case.

Roosevelt and Edna Jones, believed to be in their 60s, were retired educators. Russell Jones was a sophomore at Fort Valley State University, according to neighbors.

Telegraph writer Mike Stucka contributed to this report. To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.

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