MARION COUNTY, Fla. — Michael Jones, the Florida man suspected of killing his wife and four children and driving with their bodies in his van for weeks, was denied bond in court in Marion County on Thursday, Sept. 19.
Jones, 38, was also placed on suicide watch, according to CNN affiliate WFTV. He was assigned a public defender by the judge.
A charge of second-degree murder was filed in connection with the death of his wife, authorities said. He had not been charged with the deaths of the children as of Thursday.
Jones was taken into custody Sunday night, Sept. 15 after he wrecked his van in south Georgia, and authorities discovered the decomposing body of his wife, Casei Jones, inside the vehicle.
Casei Jones and her four children — Cameron Bowers, 10, Preston Bowers, 5, Mercalli Jones, 2, and Aiyana Jones, 1 — were last seen about seven weeks ago near Ocala, Florida, the sheriff’s office said. Her family reported them missing Saturday night, Sept. 14, police said.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said it was believed that Jones killed them in Florida weeks ago, and then stored their bodies and drove them into southern Georgia.
When police arrived at the crash scene Sunday night, deputies “smelled a foul odor” coming from Michael Jones’ van, according to a Brantley County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office press release.
“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, the Brantley County Sheriff’s Office said. The bodies, believed to be of the four children, were found in a wooded area off the highway in Charlton County, Georgia.
Jones was scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 2.