Parents charged with murder after police fear boy's body fed to - KCTV5 News

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Parents charged with murder after police fear boy's body fed to pigs

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KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) -

Michael and Heather Jones, the father and stepmother of a young boy who is believed to have been missing for months and is presumed dead, have both been charged with first-degree felony murder.

Wyandotte County District Attorney Chris Schneider announced the charges Friday.

Jones, 29, now faces the murder charge as well as a child abuse charge in connection with 7-year-old Adrian Jones.

She is in the Wyandotte County Jail in lieu of a $5 million bond.

The district attorney also amended the charges against Michael Jones, 44, to now include murder. He was previously charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery against his wife and child abuse charges against his son, Adrian, sometime between May 1 and Sept. 28.. His bond was set at $10 million.

The felony murder charge essentially accuses both in the death of Adrian, not as a planned or premeditated murder, but as the result of committing another crime, like child abuse. Specifically charging documents say by "committing, attempting to commit or fleeing from the felony of child abuse."

Heather Jones was arrested Thursday then held on 48-hour investigative hold for murder and child abuse charges. She was booked into jail on a bench warrant for a Walmart theft under $1,000. Prosecutors had until Saturday morning to formally charge her with the crimes.

Her arrest came two weeks after her husband was arrested.

Police came to the couple's Piper home in the 5200 block of N. 99th Street on Nov. 25 on a report of Michael Jones attacking his wife and firing a gun at her. As the investigation progressed, someone told them to check for Adrian's decomposed body. By the next day, they were searching a barn on the property where they discovered human remains.

Adrian allegedly went missing towards the end of September and no one ever reported his disappearance.

Investigators fear Adrian was fed to pigs on the family's property after being beaten to death. The DA's office said the charges of murder do not necessarily mean the remains have been identified, but a medical examiner says the bones are that of a child.

Since then, people who claim to know the couple have been coming out of the woodwork, standing up for or pointing fingers at one or both of them.

A man claiming to have done odd jobs for the couple said Heather Jones was a battered woman, afraid that if she tried to get help, her husband would killer her and the kids. Someone sent KCTV5 photos of a bruised Heather Jones, claiming her injuries were done at the hands of her husband.

"She was terrified of Mike and put herself in between Mike and the kids," the woman wrote.

Her status as victim was affirmed by the charges against her husband.

A legal expert said the charges against Heather Jones allege more than just standing by – they allege participation.

"Maybe the child wasn't taken care of, maybe the child was sick, maybe the child didn't get sufficient food. Maybe the child was starved. Maybe the child was beaten on. Maybe all of those," Carl Cornwell said.

Cornwell is a well-known defense lawyer in Kansas who helped establish the Battered Women's Syndrome defense in the state of Kansas in 1985. He said it's a defense that applies in felony murder and could apply to this case, even though the victim is not Heather Jones’ abuser, but instead a helpless child.

"If she has been told, ‘You know what's going to happen to you if you don't help me starve this child, beat this child, make sure that this child is never found, I'm going to kill you and these kids,’" he said.

Cornwell said he thinks it can be a legitimate defense.

Heather Jones will make her first court appearance on these charges Monday.

Copyright 2015 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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