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Three South Carolina churches held a somber vigil Monday night for the five siblings allegedly murdered by their father and dumped in the Alabama woods. Mourners, huddled in pews in a darkened sanctuary lit only by candles, sang “Amazing Grace” and shed tears for the slain children, who ranged in age from 1 to 8. The gathering took place just days after the family of murder suspect Timothy Ray Jones Jr. held a memorial in Mississippi for the kids. The coroner has not yet released the children's bodies, and it could be a month before a forensic pathologist submits final autopsy results.
Investigators say Jones, 32, murdered the children at his South Carolina home sometime after Aug. 28, and then drove their bodies across three states before ditching the remains in garbage bags in a clearing off an Alabama highway. The computer engineer was arrested in his blood-soaked Cadillac Escalade during a traffic stop Sept. 6 in Mississippi, and he led police to the victim's decomposed bodies.
Initially held on a charge of driving while high on synthetic marijuana, Jones has since been charged with five counts of murder. Lawyers hired by his family say he is suffering from "untreated mental illness."