COLUMBIA — The victim in what police are calling a homicide was born in East St. Louis, Ill., and has lived in Columbia since 2003, police spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said.
The body of Timothy Ray Jones, 43, was found by a jogger at about 9:35 a.m. Tuesday near the end of White Oak Lane and the MKT Trail connector just southeast of Forum and Stadium boulevards.
Jones had lacerations to his upper body, and the wounds indicate the death was a homicide, Sgt. Jill Schlude of the Columbia Police Department said.
Warren Brewer, chief of custody for the Boone County Sheriff's Department, said Jones listed his address as "streets of Columbia" when he was booked into the jail in December 2007 for failure to follow judge's orders on domestic assault charges, leaving a scene and municipal charges of deceiving an officer. He was released from jail in May 2008.
A homeless camp was located near the site where the body was found, Stroer said, but "it's unknown at this time who it belongs to."
Police returned Wednesday to the area where the body was found to search for any additional evidence, Stroer said.
In addition to identifying Jones, police have located his next of kin, Stroer said. Detectives on Wednesday afternoon continued to look into the last 24 hours of Jones' life, trying to find anyone who may have seen him or businesses he might have visited on Monday, Stroer said.
The major crimes unit has given multiple briefings to patrol officers on the investigation, Stroer said.
On Wednesday morning, several residents who live in the area expressed surprise at the death.
Louis Nunnelly, 77, of White Oak Lane has owned his home since 1965. He said a patrolman and a detective came by around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, asked whether he knew the victim and told him it might have been a drug deal gone bad. Nunnelly said police told him it looked like Jones had been attacked.
"This is the first time anything like this has happened out here," Nunnelly said. "I'm just as shocked as they were."
Rod Kelly, 61, of Belleview Court said police talked to his 87-year-old mother and told her the death was suspicious. Kelly said he's lived there since 1965 and described the area as a "second-generation neighborhood" because the people who grew up there now have kids.
"Everyone knows everybody," Kelly said.
Arvine Eubanks, a resident of Belleview Court since 1969, said police came by around 4 or 5 p.m. Tuesday and asked his wife whether she'd heard or seen anything. Eubanks said he takes his dog for walks on the MKT Trail connector that leads from the end of White Oak Lane to the main trail.
A representative at the Boone County Medical Examiner's Office on Wednesday said an autopsy was performed by Medical Examiner Carl Stacy. Early Wednesday afternoon, Stroer said police had not yet received autopsy results.
Jones had a history of criminal charges, including third-degree domestic assault in September 2005. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to nine months in jail after having his probation revoked, according to court records.
According to court records, Jones also served 30 days in jail for disturbing the peace in 2004, 60 days for passing bad checks in 2005 after his probation was revoked and six months in jail for leaving the scene of an accident in 2006.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Columbia Police Investigations Unit at 874-7423, or 874-7652 after business hours. To make an anonymous report, call Crime Stoppers at 875-TIPS.