Unsealed Arrest Warrant Reveals Details in Jahi Turner Murder Case - NBC 7 San Diego

Unsealed Arrest Warrant Reveals Details in Jahi Turner Murder Case

The document includes references journal entries from the toddler’s stepfather and murder suspect,Tieray Jones, and details of what he wrote about in the days leading to the last time Jahi was seen alive

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    Tieray Jones, the man charged with killing 2-year-old Jahi Turner, kept a journal at the time of the toddler's killing. The writings reveal new details on the 14-year-old cold case that shook San Diego to its core. Mari Payton reports for NBC 7 Investigates. (Published Friday, May 13, 2016)

    Tieray Jones, the man charged with killing 2-year-old Jahi Turner, kept a journal with Jahi’s mother, Tameka Turner, in which they wrote to each other when they were apart because of Tameka’s Navy duties, according to the arrest warrant released Thursday.

    That notebook was found in Jones’ apartment on April 25, 2002, the first day investigators began looking for the missing child, the court document details. 

    Hundreds of volunteers and police officers spent weeks searching for traces of the 30-pound toddler when he was reported missing in 2002. Law enforcement officers raked through 5,000 tons of garbage at the landfill, but came up with nothing.

    Detailed in the arrest warrant is a journal entry from April 23, 2002.

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    According to the court document, Jones wrote, “Today for some reason he hasn’t been moving or really talking. Jahi is starting to act really funny he won’t get up off the floor. He’s not walking or talking when I tell him to get his cup he just looks at me. I know it’s going to take some time. But I don’t want him hating me for something I can’t control. The bump on his head has gone down I put ice on it. It’s gotten a little red.”

    In the arrest warrant, authorities suggest that entry is evidence suggesting Jahi suffered a fatal physical injury while in Jones’ care.

    According to the court document, “A board certified child abuse doctor has looked at the symptoms described in the journal and believes them to be consistent with blunt force abdominal trauma or a serious head injury. Both of which could be fatal if not treated by a medical professional.”

    The arrest warrant was released by Judge David Danielsen Thursday after NBC 7 Investigates and CBS affiliate KFMB filed a motion for it to be unsealed and released to the public.

    Click here to read the search warrant.

    In court Thursday, Jones was represented by two new attorneys: Alex Ozols and Vik Monder. Previously Jones was being represented by a public defender.

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    In a statement to NBC 7 Investigates, Ozols said he and Monder were reading the arrest warrant for the first time Thursday morning in court.

    “We are confident that your investigative team will be able to see that the affidavit is only one side of the story and that there are clearly a lot of questions that need to be answered,” he said. “We believe in Tieray's innocence, we are going to fight for him until the end and we strongly believe that his son is still alive."

    The newly released arrest warrant detailed that when questioned by investigators, “Jones at first denied that Jahi Turner had any falls, accidents, or injuries, while Jones was taking care of him. He then admitted to one fall, but stated that the fall took place on the other side of the bed from what he had told Tameka Turner.”

    The document also states “the child abuse expert also saw evidence of triggers for abuse, particularly Jahi’s problem with wetting the bed. On Tuesday, April 23, 2002, Jones complained to Tameka Turner that Jahi Turner had 'peed the bed' Monday night.”

    Jones is charged with one count of murder and one count of felony child abuse causing death, authorities said. Both carry a 25-years-to-life sentence if convicted. Jones was arrested in North Carolina earlier this year.

    When the announcement of his arrest was made, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said, "Jahi's disappearance rocked the community to its core 14 years ago. It's without a doubt one of the highest profile unsolved cases here in San Diego County."

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    Though new evidence has been uncovered in the case, authorities have not found Jahi's body or remains, police said.

    On April 25, 2002, Jahi allegedly disappeared from a playground at 28th Street and Cedar Street in San Diego's South Park neighborhood. According to police, Jones told officers he was with the toddler at the park when he left to get a drink for Jahi. Jones said he returned 15 minutes later and Jahi was gone.

    Officials say the last reported sighting of Jahi was April 22, 2002. A huge search for Jahi ensued, including a week-long police search of the Miramar Landfill, where authorities took the extreme measure of systematically raking through 5,000 tons of garbage.

    According to the arrest warrant, on April 24, 2002, Jones wrote in his journal, “You still haven’t called. The money has been deposited but I can’t use the card. I let him sleep in the bed but I put a bag under his blanket. And he peed to, glad the bed didn’t wet. I washed the little bit of stuff I could that he pissed in. We walked to the store but I couldn’t use the card.”

    At the time of the child’s disappearance, Jahi’s mother was deployed aboard USS Rushmore.

    NBC 7 Investigates is working for you. If you have more information about this or other story tips, contact us: (619) 578-0393, NBC7Investigates@nbcuni.com. To receive the latest NBC 7 Investigates stories subscribe to our newsletter. 

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