On April 26, 2016, Amber Jones, the mother of five children who were brutally murdered by her former husband, Timothy (Tim) Jones, Jr., in late August of 2014, filed a wrongful death suit against the state of South Carolina and the Lexington County Department of Social Services (DSS) for the deaths of her children.
The lawsuit alleges that DSS did not do enough to protect her children: Abigail, 1, Gabriel 2, Nathan, 6, Elias, 7 and Merah, 8, by placing them in their father’s care. The lawsuit reports that Tim was a “well-documented child abuser” (2) and provides a timeline of reported investigations that began in 2011 following reports of neglect and “substantial risk of physical injury.” (2) In 2013 and 2014, the children’s school filed reports with DSS; one of which was a report that Tim choked one of the children and threw one against the wall. A babysitter made a report of abuse in 2014. DSS reportedly showed negligence in 11 areas and only created safety plans in response to the investigations.
Following the murders in late August 2014, Tim was reported to be under the influence of drugs and believed his children were going “chop him up and feed him to the dogs.” (2) Tim allegedly strangled the children to death in his home, placed them in plastic bags, put them in his vehicle, and drove around with them for six days prior to dumping their bodies in rural Alabama. On September 11, 2014, he stopped at a traffic checkpoint in Mississippi and was taken into custody due to blood on the interior and the smell of death coming from the vehicle. Tim is currently being held in Lexington County, SC where he waits to stand trial for five counts of murder in the deaths of his five children.
The lawsuit states, “Each child suffer[ed] a horrific, but entirely preventable death.” (1) DSS was reported to be knowledgeable of the risks the children were in from their father and Amber is seeking damages for the “wrongful deaths and conscious pain and suffering of her children.” (2)