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Dad accused of killing kids extradited to South Carolina

RALEIGH, Miss. - The man accused of killing his five young children and dumping their bodies off a rural Alabama road is being extradited to South Carolina to face murder charges.

Early Thursday, 32-year-old Timothy Ray Jones Jr. was loaded into an unmarked SUV and was leaving Mississippi for South Carolina - a trip of more than 500 miles.

He had been held in Smith County since his arrest Saturday at a traffic checkpoint. Mississippi law enforcement officials say Jones confessed to killing all five of his children - ages 8, 7, 6, 2 and 1 - and eventually led authorities to their bodies.

Photos of Timothy Ray Jones Jr. children are on display during a news conference at the Lexington County Sheriff's Dept Training Center in Lexington, S.C., Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. RICHARD SHIRO, AP

Jones will face five murder charges, according to officials in his hometown of Lexington, S.C.

On Thursday, Jones wore a striped jail uniform and protective vest as he was escorted into the SUV. Officials also loaded up boxes of evidence for the trip to South Carolina.

"He's in the hands of South Carolina authorities at this time," Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton said. "I feel sorry for what their next phase is."

Officials said the children were likely killed shortly after they were last seen in school and day care Aug. 28. Police didn't say how the children were killed, or where, except that it wasn't in their home.

Jones put each child's body in its own trash bag and loaded them into his 2006 Cadillac Escalade, South Carolina authorities said. He allegedly drove hundreds of miles and crisscrossed several southeastern states for days, apparently using bleach to try to mask the smell of the decomposing bodies.

Jones stopped at an isolated hilltop in central Alabama and dumped the bodies near Pine Apple, 20 miles off Interstate 65 and about 65 miles south of Montgomery, officials said.

He then kept driving for several more hours Saturday until he reached the DUI checkpoint in Smith County, about 500 miles from his hometown. An officer said he "smelled the stench of death" along with chemicals used to make methamphetamine and synthetic marijuana. Police found blood, bleach and maggots in the car.

A check of Jones' license plate showed his ex-wife had reported him and the children missing three days earlier when he failed to bring them over for visitation. He eventually acknowledged what happened to his children, and led police to their bodies Tuesday, authorities said. Only then did authorities go public with the case.

Divorce records listed the five children as Merah, 8; Elias, 7; Nahtahn, 6; Gabriel, 2, and Elaine Marie, 1. Elaine Marie was born Abagail Elizabeth but the parents agreed to a name change, records show.