Friends and family thought it was just talk -- until Monday, when the 40-year-old suburban Detroit (search) man became the first person known to have survived a drop from the falls without safety devices.
Jones sounded fine Tuesday morning, according to his brother Keith.
"He said, 'Yeah, I jumped in the falls. It's a long way down.' It wasn't as cold as he thought. He sounded relaxed," Keith Jones, 45, said from the family home in Canton Township.
Keith Jones said he believed his brother was a bit depressed, but not suicidal, after their parents closed the family tool business and moved to Oregon a week ago.
"I think he was feeling a little sorry for himself and so he wanted to pull this stunt," he said. "He accomplished what he set out to accomplish. It's his claim to fame."
Jones' father, Raymond, 80, said his son likes doing "strange things."
"I couldn't believe he did it and that he survived. He's got a lot more courage than I do. He's a very strong boy, a strong swimmer," the father said.
His mother, Doris, 77, said her son injured his hip in the jump.
"We would rather he hadn't done that," Doris Jones said from her sister's home in Oregon. "I don't understand why he risked it."
Jones will be charged with illegally performing a stunt and could be fined $10,000. He remained hospitalized in Niagara Falls in stable condition.
Friend and neighbor Eric Fronek, 21, said that before Jones went to the falls "he said, 'If I go over and I live, I am going to make some money."'
Jones, who had worked in sales for the family business, said he planned to jump during a vacation last month with his parents, according to Keith Jones.
"That was his research," he said. "He had a spot picked out. But then he came back and he didn't do it."