News 12 at 11 o'clock / Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Jones family (WRDW-TV)
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- It's a tragedy that has stunned a community -- two retired school teachers and their son killed, their bodies dumped in the woods and set on fire.
Edna and Roosevelt Jones and their son, Russell, were found Tuesday afternoon in the woods behind a south Augusta subdivision. A few hours later, crime scene tape went up around their home just a few miles away.
On Wednesday night, their church community gathered to remember and to pray.
"This was an extraordinary family," said Louise Lowe, who has been friends with the Jones family for more than 30 years.
Last night she got a call with the news of what had happened.
"It's like something you see on TV," she said. "The CS crime investigation or something. You never think something like this is gonna hit so close to home."
"It's just like something hit you in the stomach," added Youth Minister Clarence Jones. "It's just one of them unreal realization you have to face that you can't believe that this is real, this actually happened."
Word spread quickly around Augusta Deliverance Church where the Joneses had been members for more than 40 years.
"If there was anything such as perfect members, they were," said Pastor Roy Myles.
"They are some of the better people you ever want to meet," Clarence said.
They raised their children in the church. Russell attended youth group until he left for college.
"Russell was one of the better kids," Clarence said. "Very intelligent, very well-mannered."
Edna was a member of the Women's Ministry and taught children's Sunday school.
"I know all the little children whom Edna taught in children's church on Sunday, their parents are gonna have a hard time explaining to them," Lowe said.
Roosevelt was a deacon, the church treasurer and taught Wednesday night youth.
"This is our normal prayer night and they would be here. They would be here," Lowe said. "Roosevelt would be across the street in the gym teaching the youth bible study, and afterwards, they would play games."
But instead, the church held a vigil to remember them and to pray.
"God promised to give us comfort and peace in a time of trouble and we just have to trust that God will fulfill his word," Clarence said.
The Joneses had four sons and one daughter. Their daughter was set to get married this weekend.
Friends say Edna was so excited and was planning to do some shopping for the wedding Tuesday afternoon.
The Sheriff's Office says they have a person of interest in custody but are not releasing a name.
They say there is no reason to believe more than one person committed the crime.
They also emphasized that, in Georgia, multiple homicides is a potential death penalty case. That will be left up to the district attorney.