Richmond County sheriff’s investigators charged Ryan David Jones with three counts of murder Thursday in the slaying of his mother, father and brother. Three charred bodies believed to be those relatives were found Tuesday in a field near Deer Chase Elementary School.
The motive remains a mystery, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman said Thursday afternoon.
“Hopefully within the coming weeks we can try to figure that out, but right now we’re not quite sure, so it would be ill-advised for me to say something otherwise,” Lt. Calvin Chew said.
Jones, 26, lived at the family home on Pinnacle Place Drive, according to the Richmond County jail. Because of the mounting evidence, authorities said they decided to charge him after holding him two days as a person of interest. They had earlier indicated they might wait until the bodies were positively identified through dental records.
After initial media reports of Tuesday’s discovery of the three bodies, now tentatively identified as Roosevelt and Edna Jones, and their son Russell, investigators said they received a phone call from another son, Steve Jones, a Macon school principal. He asked the Sheriff’s Office check on his family members at 3729 Pinnacle Place Drive, Hephzibah.
According to a narrative provided by the Sheriff’s Office, Steve Jones said he not heard from his family members since Monday.
When deputies arrived at the residence, they forced their way inside the house and found large amounts of blood. After obtaining search warrants for the residence and reviewing the scene, investigators said it appeared multiple murders had taken place. They also bore similarities to the bodies discovered earlier, police said.
Autopsies determined each victim had been shot at least once. Ballistics evidence from the autopsies and the residence matched a firearm belonging to Ryan Jones that was recovered when he was taken into custody, police said.
Ryan Jones has a criminal history. According to court records, he was charged in 2006 with theft by receiving stolen property and misdemeanor counts of carrying a concealed weapon and carrying a weapon without a license.
He pleaded guilty in 2007 to theft and was sentenced to four years of probation as a first offender. The weapon charges were dropped. He completed his sentence in February 2011.
Staff Writer Sandy Hodson contributed to this report.