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Case worker: Dad accused of killing 5 kids was "overwhelmed"

Timothy Ray Jones Jr.

AP Photo/Smith County, MIss. Sheriff's Office

COLUMBIA, S.C.-- The South Carolina man accused of killing his five children and dumping their bodies in Alabama was an ex-convict whose homes were visited by social workers a dozen times in the last three years.

A social worker wrote in a report after the last visit on Aug. 13 that Timothy Ray Jones Jr. "appears to be overwhelmed as he is unable to maintain the home, but the children appear to be clean, groomed and appropriately dressed."

Records released Thursday by South Carolina social workers show Jones, 32, was a single father and computer engineer trying to raise five children. Social workers wrote that the children seemed happy and well-adjusted despite occasional spankings, and the family took a summer trip to Disney World and the beach.

Jones and his five children disappeared two weeks ago, and he was arrested in Mississippi on Saturday when he was stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Authorities say Jones was alone, with blood and children's clothes in his SUV and the stench of death in the air.

Authorities say Jones led investigators Tuesday to his five children's bodies, wrapped in trash bags on an isolated Alabama hilltop. Authorities say it's not clear why he killed them.

Jones was extradited to South Carolina Thursday and his first court appearance is scheduled for Friday.