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Stepfather Arrested In 2002 Cold Case Of Missing Toddler

This shows a screenshot of the missing flier for Jahi Turner, 2, on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He went missing from Balboa Park on April 25, 2002.
KPBS
This shows a screenshot of the missing flier for Jahi Turner, 2, on the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. He went missing from Balboa Park on April 25, 2002.

Stepfather Arrested In 2002 Cold Case Of Missing Toddler
Stepfather Arrested In 2002 Cold Case Of Missing Toddler GUEST: Bill Mitchell, deputy district attorney, San Diego County District Attorney's Office

Our top story on KBPS Midday Edition. The man who reported Jahi Turner missing will be arraigned today for the child's murder. San Diego's Bonnie Dumanis says tran seven will be arrested. He reported the disappearance. 14 years ago. The body of a toddler has not been found. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has called the disappearance of Jahi Turner one of the . Showing me is Bill Mitchell. I'll come to the program. Reportedly, shortly after the disappearance, police believe that Jahi Turner was dead and they had a suspect but not enough evidence to was Tieray Jones that suspects question mark I believe it came out that time that they were looking at the stepfather as a potential suspect. Zimmerman said investigators began looking at this case about two years ago. Can you tell us about those leads? Actually I cannot comment on any of the evidence older knew that goes into the prosecution of this case at this time. Can you tell us may be some informants, or forensics are they part of those leads? I can tell you that it was not informants. To prosecutors have a theory how Jahi Turner die? I can I cannot disclose that. Let me ask you, what will Tieray Jones be charged with ? He is already charged with Count one of murder under penal go 67. Felony child abuse causing death. He was charged in North Carolina can. He -- he needs to be extradited from North Carolina. What is involved now. He has been charged here in San Diego. A warrant was issued here. He was arrested on our warrant in North Carolina. He would to court earlier today and did actually waive extradition. We have 30 days within it which to make the arrangements to go back there and pick them up and bring them back in custody. So that he can then be arraigned. Tieray Jones and tran05's mother stay together after the disappearance. Are they still together or where they together after the arrest? No. They were not actually together very long after the disappearance of Jahi Turner . Tamika to give birth to another child by Tieray Jones. He left soon after that. They were divorced recently though within the last year or two. Have you informed Tamika Jones of the charge of murder against Tieray Jones Yes she has been informed. Can you show any kind of reaction question mark No. I cannot do that. The sledge murder code 14 years ago. How difficult is it to bring the case to question what I have done a number of co-cases and obviously the passes of time ways sometimes on the quality of evidence if witnesses statements have not been preserved. This case though, luckily, the most of the important witnesses statements were audio recorded at the time that the investigation was taking place in 2002. And in 2003. We also have a number of officers detailed reports. We will be able to rely on those to assist with the prosecution of the case. This is not only a cold case but it is a murder trial. Without a body. I am wondering does that indeed, add to the difficulty that you have in front of you? I think it goes without saying that your chances of getting away with the murder increase almost astronomically if you can successfully disposer conceal the victims remains. But it does not leave us powerless to mount a successful prosecution. And has been done quite often in the past. And I think it can be done this case. Do you think there are people in San Diego out there who have more information about this case? I would just be speculating if I were to answer that. I do not know. There was mentioned during the news conference yesterday that the district attorney's office was sort of welcoming people who might have some information to come in and speak with you. Are you at this time still building your case? IA will completely or continue to actually be building our case until we are in trial. Putting it together and presenting it in a most successful way that we can. We're always interested in what people think may be relevant to the case. What they think might be relevant we might not think is relevant. They may have information that may turn out to be critical that they don't even know how important it is. So it would encourage anyone that had information to bring a four. Also during the news conference yesterday they seem to be quite a bit of satisfaction about finding what the prosecutors believe is the beginning of the resolution of this case. Is there a certain amount of satisfaction that indeed someone has been arrested question mark Is a first step in a long process trying to get closure on a case of this magnitude. It has a long way to go the appeared Okay then. I have been speaking with Bill Mitchell. Thank you so much. You're welcome.

Officials have arrested the stepfather of a 2-year-old boy who disappeared in San Diego more than a decade ago and say he will be charged with murder in the case.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said at a news conference in San Diego that Tieray D. Jones, 37, was arrested by U.S. Marshals and police officers in Raleigh, North Carolina, early Monday.

Jones is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday at Wake County Courthouse in Raleigh, North Carolina, on charges of murder and child abuse causing death. If he agrees not to fight extradition, he will be brought to San Diego within 30 days to stand trial, officials said.

RELATED: Stepfather Waives Extradition In Death Of San Diego Toddler

Authorities declined to disclose what led to the belated arrest in the high-profile case, which had proved so devoid of developments that it began to seem to be one that likely would never be solved.

Jones had been questioned shortly after the 2002 disappearance of Jahi Turner, the toddler son of his wife, who was in the Navy and deployed at the time.

Jones initially told police the boy disappeared from Balboa Park when Jones went to buy a soda.

Tameka Jones, left, with Tieray Jones, talk about the ordeal of her missing 2-year-old son, Jahi Turner, May 6, 2002.
Associated Press
Tameka Jones, left, with Tieray Jones, talk about the ordeal of her missing 2-year-old son, Jahi Turner, May 6, 2002.

The boy was in Jones' care while his mother was serving aboard a San Diego-based Navy ship. The couple had a child together and returned to their home state of Maryland in 2003.

Dumanis told reporters she hadn't been sure over the years that "this day would ever come," describing the longtime unsolved case as one that "weighed heavily on all our hearts."

"Jahi's disappearance rocked the community to its core 14 years ago," she said.

San Diego police, in yellow, and Marines, in white, search the Miramar landfill for clues to the disappearance of 2-year-old Jahi Turner, May 2, 2002.
Associated Press
San Diego police, in yellow, and Marines, in white, search the Miramar landfill for clues to the disappearance of 2-year-old Jahi Turner, May 2, 2002.

Jones, who lived with Jahi and the child's mother in a Golden Hill apartment, reported the youngster missing on April 25, 2002. The suspect told police he had brought Jahi to a park at Cedar and 28th streets, left him with a woman and several other children for about 15 minutes, and returned to find him gone.

Police at the time declined to comment on news reports that Jahi had not been to that playground at all that day, or that Jones reportedly failed a lie detector test.

The boy's disappearance prompted weeks of intensive searches, including an extensive sweep of the Miramar Landfill. The boy's body has never been found.

Though the case ultimately went cold, authorities remained committed to solving it one day, Dumanis told reporters.

"We never gave up on finding justice for Jahi," she said.

About two years ago, a new team of investigators began developing fresh leads in the case, Zimmerman said.

Throughout the last 14 years, detectives were intent on recovering the child's body as well as finding his killer, police Capt. David Nisleit told reporters.

"And that is still one of our goals, to find Jahi," Nisleit said.