FREEHOLD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A 10-year-old child abuse case has been cracked.
Authorities in New Jersey have arrested three New York City residents on charges stemming from the 2002 death of a 9-year-old girl in Harlem.
Monmouth County prosecutors charged 39-year-old Likisha Jones, 48-year-old Godfrey Gibson of Manhattan and 35-year-old James Jones of Brooklyn with hindering apprehension and other counts in the disposal of a body.
The investigation came to be known as the “Baby Bones” case after burned, skeletal remains were found by a hunter in the woods not far from the Six Flags amusement park in Upper Freehold Township in 2005.
Officials used DNA to identify the remains as 9-year-old Jon-Niece Jones. Prosecutors said she died at the Harlem home of her aunt Likisha Jones after years of abuse and neglect by her mother. The mother died soon after.
James Jones was the child’s uncle and Gibson was the aunt’s boyfriend. Prosecutors said James Jones and Gibson disposed of the 9-year-old’s body in Upper Freehold Township after lighting it on fire.
“These arrests highlight the tireless efforts of detectives during this seven-year investigation,” Col. Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said in a statement. “The family members of Jon-Niece Jones turned a blind eye to the constant physical and mental abuse this young girl endured for years. Because of the hard work by investigators, these three suspects will now have to answer for their alleged unthinkable actions.”
“The ‘Baby Bones’ case reminds us all that it is our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable,” Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa said in a statement.
The case gained national attention in 2009 when it was featured on “America’s Most Wanted.”
Likisha and James Jones were ordered held on $40,000 bail, CBS 2 reported. Gibson is being held on $75,000.
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