Officials: Father confesses to killing his 5 children

A case involving the deaths of five young children is spanning several states across the southern U.S.

Mississippi police are holding 32-year-old Timothy Ray Jones Jr. as authorities prepare to charge him with the murder of his children, ages 1 to 8.

STATE TROOPER VIA WSFA: "We are assisting the Alabama law enforcement agency, the state bureau of investigation task force, state troopers, we're here assisting the other law enforcement because this is our state, the crime may have crossed state lines so we're all working together to put the bad guy in jail." 

WIS-TV and others report Jones lives in South Carolina as the primary custodian of his children, who were reported missing last week. Here's what authorities say Jones has told them.

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After leaving their home near Columbia, South Carolina, Jones said he drove all the way to southern Alabama, near Greenville. 

That's where police say Jones led them to the children's bodies on a dirt road in a very rural area

The suspect told authorities he then headed back in the direction of South Carolina, but he never made it that far. Police near Raleigh, Mississippi, stopped Jones at a drunk driving checkpoint, where an officer noticed an odor in the car and blood on the back seat.

Mississippi police say Jones then began talking freely to officers about the ordeal and later led them to the children's bodies in Alabama. Police say they're unsure why he drove to Alabama to drop the bodies but that Jones told them he thought the children were plotting to kill him.

Despite the heavy coverage from local outlets in all three states involved, it was actually NBC who spoke directly to Jones' father. The senior Jones said to the outlet, "God help me and God help my son,”and that his son had "been a really good dad" since Jones Jr.'s divorce was finalized last year.

The district attorney in Smith County, Mississippi, told NBC that Jones Jr. stopped short of a full confession. Even so, police believe Jones Jr. killed the children in South Carolina before driving to Alabama. The suspect will likely be prosecuted in South Carolina.

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