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Public Safety

Preliminary Hearing Begins In Jahi Turner Case

These undated photos show Tieray Jones and Jahi Turner.
These undated photos show Tieray Jones and Jahi Turner.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin today for a man accused of killing his toddler stepson who went missing from a Balboa Park-area playground more than 14 years ago.

Tieray Jones, 38, is charged with murder and child abuse in the death of 2-year-old Jahi Turner, whose body was never found. Jones was arrested in North Carolina in April and brought back to San Diego to face charges.

In an arrest warrant declaration, a San Diego police Detective alleged that Jones either intentionally injured the child, or the toddler suffered an accidental injury and the defendant neglected to get the boy medical help.

Jones reported Jahi missing on April 25, 2002. At the time, he lived in a Golden Hill apartment with the youngster and the child's 18-year-old mother, Navy sailor Tameka Jones.

Jones told police he had brought his stepson to a park at Cedar and 28th streets, left him with a woman and several other children while he went to get a soda from a nearby vending machine, and returned to find them all gone.

The boy's disappearance prompted weeks of intensive searches of canyons, fields and neighborhoods in the area, as well as a grueling weeklong sweep of the Miramar Landfill.

The efforts turned up no evidence regarding what had become of Jahi, who soon was considered a probable homicide victim.

Seven months after the child vanished, Jones was arrested by a bounty hunter in San Diego and taken to Maryland to face unrelated drug charges.

After the preliminary hearing -- which is expected to last a week -- a judge will decide whether enough evidence was presented for Jones to stand trial.

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