The 10-year marriage of the parents of five slain Lexington County children ended in divorce last fall after allegations surfaced of the mother’s affair and a complaint that she neglected the youngsters, court records show.
Timothy Ray Jones – whom authorities say has confessed to killing the children, ages 1-8 – was given primary custody, after a family therapist called him well-qualified for that role, according to records authorizing his divorce from his former wife, Amber.
Amber Jones, who was 27 at the time the Oct. 14 divorce was granted, agreed to that arrangement.
Assigning the youngsters to his care, with time for the mother every other weekend, was in “their best interest and that of their children,” divorce records said.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
That settlement came after a report from the therapist described Jones as a “highly intelligent, responsible father” focused on his children.
But Timothy Ray Jones was distraught over what he believed was his wife’s “inappropriate relationship” with a 19-year-old neighbor, the report said.
In addition, the report said, state social services officials investigated the mother’s care of the children in September 2011, the report quoted him as saying. That investigation happened before divorce proceedings were started.
No details about that investigation were available early Wednesday afternoon.
The family also was just getting by financially, records show. Expenses and debt consumed most of the salary of nearly $72,000 a year that Jones earned as a computer engineer at a local office of Intel Corp., records show.
Authorities say Timothy Ray Jones, 32, will be charged with five counts of murder in the deaths of his children, whose bodies were found Tuesday in a rural area of Wilcox County, Alabama. He is being transported back to South Carolina.