MARION COUNTY, Fla. – The sister of a missing Florida mother who was found dead along with her four children said she and other family members believed they were texting with the slain woman.
Marion County deputies said Casei Jones, 32, was reported missing Saturday by family members who hadn't seen her or her four children -- Cameron Bowers, 10; Preston Bowers, 5; Mercalli Jones, 2; and Aiyana Jones, 1 -- for six weeks.
They were found dead in Georgia on Monday. Authorities said Michael Jones was involved in a car crash and admitted his wife's body was in the vehicle. He then told investigators the location of the other bodies, officials said.
Casei Jones's older sister, Sarah Gilbert, said relatives waited so long to report the family missing because they thought they were texting with Casei Jones, but deputies said it was likely her husband was sending messages from her phone.
"It had been weeks since we had seen her, yes, but (it wasn't) put out there that we were receiving texts. Family members were texting her, she was texting back," Gilbert said.
Michael Jones is facing a second-degree murder charge in connection with his wife's death.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said detectives have executed search warrants for the family's home in Summerfield, along with phone records. He said evidence was found at the home, which is believed to be a crime scene.
Details on what evidence was found was not immediately available, but a probable cause affidavit noted that the home smelled of decomposition.
At one point, Gilbert said Michael Jones claimed his wife was sick, so he dropped her two youngest children off at Casei Jones's mother's house so she could watch them for two weeks.
"It was around the time that most likely all of this was probably -- the house was probably being emptied out at the time," Gilbert said.
Gilbert knew something was really wrong when her sister didn't post a message on Facebook to wish her son a happy birthday on Thursday.
"For her baby's birthday to go by and her not post anything for the Sept. 12th, for Cameron," Gilbert said.
Still, she didn't mention any red flags that would make the family think that Michael Jones could be dangerous.
"When you saw them, you were jealous of their cute little relationship and how much they looked like they were in love," Gilbert said.
Woods said detectives have been in Georgia since Sunday, talking to Michael Jones about what happened to the family.
"Whether it be he has guilt and just wants to spill the beans per se, he is giving us information," Woods said.
Authorities are waiting to bring Michael Jones to Marion County, where he will face a judge.