First-degree murder charges were filed Friday against the father and stepmother of a missing 7-year-old Kansas City, Kan., boy referred to by authorities as A.J.
Heather Jones, 29, was booked into jail early Thursday and charged Friday with murder and child abuse in the case. Her bond was set at $5 million.
Michael A. Jones, 44, was arrested last month and charged with child abuse, aggravated assault and aggravated battery. A charge of murder was added Friday. His bond remains at $10 million.
Human remains were discovered on Thanksgiving in a barn on property where the family lived in the 5200 block of North 99th Street.
A relative of Heather Jones said she told him the boy’s body had been fed to pigs on the property.
The announcement of murder charges by the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s office said they were in connection with the death of a child “believed to be A.J.” When asked if that meant the remains had not been positively identified yet, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office would not comment.
The spokesman also would not elaborate on the charges or what investigators believe happened to the boy.
District Attorney Jerome Gorman previously has characterized the alleged crime scene as “one of the worst things” that police investigators had seen. The $10 million bond was the highest Gorman had known or asked for in 34 years as a prosecutor.
The case began when police were called to the Jones residence late the morning before Thanksgiving to investigate a report of an armed disturbance. At that time, they learned of a 7-year-old boy who had been missing for an extended period of time. A search warrant the next day led to the remains.
The original charges against Michael A. Jones alleged child abuse in the period from May 1 to Sept. 28. The assault and battery charges against him allege Heather Jones was the victim.
The father of Heather Jones told The Kansas City Star that his daughter calmly called him on Thanksgiving.
“She told me that Mike killed the little boy and it would be all over the news,” the father said. “He fed him to the pigs, is all she said. ... She just told me it was going to be all over the news, and that’s the last time we talked.”
Six girls who were living at the Jones home, ranging in age from 10 years to younger than 2, were placed in protective custody before Heather Jones was arrested.
Heather and Michael Jones have been married about seven years. Heather Jones’ father said four of the girls are the biological children of Heather and Michael Jones. The other two girls and A.J. are believed to be Michael Jones’ children from previous relationships.
The children who are of school age reportedly were home-schooled.
Gorman said previously he believed that the family had attracted the attention of child welfare officials in the past both in Kansas and in other states, but he had no details.
Michael Jones is the owner of a bail bonding business but he is not approved to operate in Wyandotte County.
Heather Jones is scheduled to make a first appearance in Wyandotte County District Court on Monday.