Jones’ car found

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 10, 2008

NATCHEZ — In mid-April a mysterious road trip came to an end on a flooded stretch of Carthage Point Road.

The vehicle used on that trip was recovered Monday in what is now just a muddy stretch of the same road.

The vehicle belonged to Mary Jones, the woman found floating in the Mississippi River on April 19.

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For weeks the vehicle had been submerged in the river’s floodwaters.

On Monday river water was still dripping from the tailpipe.

Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy Maj. Jody Waldrop said exactly why Jones came to Natchez is still unknown.

But before arriving in Natchez Jones had been busy on the road.

Waldrop said credit card records and license plate information showed she had been driving across the country.

“We’re not sure what she was doing,” he said. “She drove from the east coast to the Southwest desert.”

Waldrop said Jones was known to be mentally ill and her family reported she had not been taking her medication.

Waldrop said deputies patrolling the area originally discovered the vehicle a few weeks ago.

However since much of the road was flooded, and too muddy to drive on, the vehicle could not be recovered until Monday.

Waldrop said the location of the vehicle was not made public because investigators did not want people traveling to the vehicle.

“It still needs to be processed for evidence,” Waldrop said.

After Jones’ body was found off Carthage Point Road investigators began the process of identiication.

Jones was not positively identified until last week.

However what Jones was doing in the Natchez area or the exact circumstances surrounding her death are not clear.

Jones was not reported missing by her family from Markham, Ill., until March 26.

Her car was found on Carthage Point Road more than eight miles from where the road turns to gravel.

Jones’ car was found with the keys in the ignition and all four widows rolled down.

For a person who had been traveling in their car the vehicle was virtually empty.

A jacket was hanging from the back widow, two drink bottles were on the back seat, one bag of sugar-free lozenges was on the front passenger seat, and there was what appeared to be an unopened bottle of water in the driver’s cup holder.

The trunk also was also virtually empty. It contained one blue nylon duffle bag with one pair of flip-flops inside.

Both of the rearview mirrors were broken off of the vehicle and the roof was partially caved in.

“That could have been logs or just water pressure,” Waldrop said of the dented roof.

While Jones’ cause of death has been officially listed as drowning Waldrop said the circumstances of the drowning could only be speculated.

Waldrop said he thinks Jones was probably driving at night when she unknowingly drove into a flooded section of the road.