MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - A missing person's case has now turned into a murder investigation. Tipton County deputies discovered the body of 18-year-old James Jones, Junior.
He was last seen around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, September 25. His family spoke exclusively to ABC24 News. Deputies found Junior's body in rural eastern Tipton County on Lindsey Road in Covington around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. A family member told ABC24 News Junior's friend confessed to police that he killed him but it was an accident.
The nightmare started with a startling 6 a.m. call Wednesday.
"My wife told me, ‘Hey you got to get up, we need to be praying because Junior's missing,’” said Junior’s Uncle Chris Dowell. Junior's mom is Dowell's sister.
"My sister is very, very distraught about what's going on," Dowell told ABC24 News a half hour before Junior’s body was discovered.
Investigators say Junior was last seen alone at a Walmart in Covington around 6 a.m. Tuesday. His family says Junior was going to Mason, which is about 13 miles south of that Walmart, to see some friends and his girlfriend. He never made it that night. Less than 10 miles away from Walmart in the 6400-block of Tennessee Highway 179 his car was found.
“In the car we located blood, we don't know whose blood it is but obviously someone made the assumption it is Jones and we can't rule that out because it's in his car and he is missing,” said Chief Donna Turner with the Tipton County Sheriff’s Office.
K-9's searched the wooded area near Junior's abandoned car, ATV's went through the hilly grass, but nothing came up until 24 hours later when investigators found Junior's body. Family members had an eerie feeling that something terrible happened.
"We don't want this to happen to any family member. Nobody, it just happens to be ours this time. We just going to take it the best way we know how and the best way is through God,” said Dowell.
An autopsy is being done at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. The TBI has taken over the death investigation.