Billy Aron Jones, 20, was the father of three children and is currently the only suspect in the murder of his 3-month-old daughter. His other children are two-years and 15-months-old, according to Sheppard.
Jones is charged with felony murder and cruelty to children as a result of an investigation that began Saturday, March 17.
According to the Gordon County Sheriff’s Office, a report came in around 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon, saying an infant was in “physical distress.”
The infant was taken to Gordon Hospital, where medical personnel were unable to save the baby’s life, and she was pronounced dead.
According to the report, sheriff’s deputies were called by the medical personnel, who “observed evidence of recent physical injuries consistent with abuse.”
After interviews, execution of search warrants and further investigation, detectives and GBI agents arrested the three-month-old’s father, Jones.
According to Sheppard, the infant’s mother was out shopping for a new baby bed when the incident occurred.
“The Sheriff’s Office does not enter into a homicide investigation lightly,” said Gordon County Sheriff Mitch Ralston. “The loss of a human life is the most serious matter that we are called upon to investigate.”
Ralston said he requested a GBI agent who is specially trained in child abuse to lead this investigation.
While the sheriff’s office believes there is enough proof to convict Jones in the death of his daughter, Jones’ family is adamant that their brother and son is innocent.
“When this happened, he was at the hospital crying his eyes out because he knows this wasn’t his fault,” said Sheppard. “He kept on telling me he tried everything he could to save her.”
Sheppard and his family don’t believe there was any harm done to the victim.
“There was no physical harm as far as we knew,” said Sheppard. “The doctors are saying there were bruises on her, which, personally I think could be caused from them reviving her. She was very small and had a lot of health problems.”
When asked specifics about the baby’s health, Jones’ stepbrother was unsure.
“I don’t know exactly the detail,” he said. “I just know she has health problems.”
Sheppard says he is confused about the beginning of the investigation.
“I don’t know the extent of the police report because the family isn’t being told anything,” said Sheppard. “As far as I know, she had a heart beat in that ambulance, by people telling me she had a heartbeat in that ambulance.”
He went on to say that “doctors are trying to call her death at home.”
“They’ve (the GBI) been telling us she died at home,” Sheppard said. “That’s where the investigation started.”
Sheppard said that the GBI told him that if there is a death at a place of residence, then there must be a thorough investigation.
The sheriff’s office tells the Calhoun Times that the baby was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Sheppard said that agents kept Jones in custody from 6 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. questioning him about the events leading up to his daughter’s death.
“Aron is one of those guys that would not break at all,” said Sheppard. “He is a strong boy for his kids; he has grown up a lot in the past years having kids.”
Sheppard confirmed that DFACS had been called to the Jones household prior to this incident, but said that it was not what people think.
“DFACS has involved themselves in things that we could not help,” said Sheppard. “There is only one case and, in that fact, the child has a disorder and the case has been lifted.”
He went on to say that the case he mentioned did not involve the two parents of the 3-month-old victim.
“No cases have been dealing with the exact parents,” Sheppard said. “It’s only been them doing their job to watch the child and their health issues.”
Sheppard said that once DFACS learned of the health issue, they let the case go.
According to Sheppard, Jones’ other two children have been examined, and they show no signs of abuse.
Jones remains in the Gordon County jail, and investigating officers say they do not expect any other arrests in the case.
“This was a horrible tragedy in which an innocent life was lost. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” said Ralston. “My detectives and our GBI colleagues moved quickly to resolve this case, and now the defendant will face justice in our local court system.”