A Kansas couple was charged with first-degree murder Friday in the death of a child who authorities believe is the man’s missing 7-year-old son, prosecutors said.
Michael and Heather Jones, who both have been jailed on multimillion dollar bonds, are also charged with child abuse, according to the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s office.
Authorities didn’t know the child was missing until they were called to the Jones’ home the day before Thanksgiving to investigate a domestic disturbance, according to Fox 4 KC.
As investigators skimmed the area, they found human remains on the property that were determined to be that of a juvenile. Tests to identify the remains are expected to take weeks.
Initial reports surrounding the case said the remains had been fed to the pigs on the property, but Wyandotte County District Attorney Jerome A. Gorman declined to comment on that notion. He said investigators described the scene “as one of the worst things that they have ever seen.”
Michael Jones, a bail bondsman, has been in custody since late last month. He’s being held on $10 million bond. He was charged earlier with child abuse, aggravated battery and aggravated assault with a firearm. Heather Jones was being held on a $5 million bond.
A Wyandotte County judge also denied requests to release affidavits to support the charges against the couple because the documents are part of an ongoing investigation.
Six children, all girls ranging in age from 10 to less than 2, were taken from the home after the disturbance in late November and are in state custody. Gorman has said the children were healthy and safe, and would be under court jurisdiction "for some time."
He said the earlier child abuse charge against Michael Jones, described as "torturing or cruelly beating," indicates the boy was abused between May 1 and Sept. 28.
Patricia Domingue, a former nanny for the family, told Fox 4 KC that the boy was in a serious situation and was treated more harshly than his other siblings.
“He would end up in the bedroom with his nose up against the wall and his hands up in the air, and would have to stand there for an hour or two. He wasn’t allowed to eat with the other girls. It just is a sad situation that I couldn’t do anything about,” Domingue added.
The Kansas Insurance Department said it has taken steps to suspend Jones' bail bondsman license.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.