Tieray Jones arrest warrant affidavit reveals details in Jahi Turner murder case

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — A judge unsealed the declaration in support of arrest warrant used to arrest Tieray Jones in connection to the death of 2-year-old Jahi Turner, his stepson, 14 years ago. Jones was charged with first-degree murder and felony assault on a child causing death and pleaded not guilty. Jones was arrested on Apr. 18 and has since been extradited to San Diego.


Jones reported Turner as missing on Apr. 25, 2002. He claimed that Turner went missing at a playground after walking away from him to purchase a drink at a vending machine. Jones told investigators he estimated the vending machine was 10-to-15 yards away, but the affidavit notes the machine is actually over 150 yards away from the playground. 

The 17-page document released to public was filed by Maura Mekenas-Parga, a 30-year veteran with the San Diego Police Department. The introduction concludes "the kidnapping/missing child story was fabricated by Tieray Jones in an attempt to cover up the death of Jahi Turner." Turner’s body has not been found. The affidavit detail several inconsistencies in Jones’ statements through the investigation. 

Jones was interviewed approximately seven times throughout the investigation. Supportive information in the affidavit include interview statements from Tieray Jones, journal written by Jones, interview statements from Tameka Turner — the mother of Jahi — other witness statements and circumstantial evidence. Turner and Jones shared a personal journal they used to communicate while Tameka was away due to her duties with the Navy. A monitored and recorded phone call placed by Tameka Turner to Tieray Jones on March 17, 2015 was also a key piece of evidence included in the affidavit. 

Jones alluded to what happened to Jahi Turner as an "accident" during the conversation with Tameka Turner, according to the affidavit. Turner proceeded to ask Jones to clarify his statement, which led to him becoming unnerved during the call. This is a Jones’ response to Turner when she questioned what he meant by "accident":

No I didn’t say, I …. No I said, baby, if there … I said if there was, if ah, if there was an accident or something, it would have been an accident … It was something that I … You know what, what … If if there was an accident and I could not, you know, that I don’t know, then I am just saying it was an accident. That is what I meant, you know, the thing that if something happened, if I did something, but what I am saying is that if it wasn’t and I did something, like, why? What I was just saying is just uh, you know, of everyone supposedly saying, you know, it’s me sweetheart. I am not an idiot to sit up here. I’m not trying to sit up here and say that I am campaigning to get you to believe something, but I am just saying. I mean, just look at me. Look at the person you have been next to. Now that you haven’t been next to me you don’t know who I am? That is what I am saying. If, if … If it was an accident sweetheart, I would have just said it was an accident. I’m not, I don’t, I have never run away from anything. 

A journal entry, dated Tuesday Apr. 23, 2002 at 16:00 hours written by Jones suggests Jahi Turner may have suffered a fatal physical injury. Jones wrote this statement:

"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."

Investigators questioned Jones about Turner’s health and Jones initially denied that Jahi had suffered any falls, accidents or injuries while in his care. He later admitted one fall occurred, but stated it occurred on the opposite side of the bed from what he had previously told Tameka Turner. Jones was specifically asked if Jahi Turner had any cuts or bumps, to which he responded "No."

Jones complained to Turner that Jahi "peed" the bed Monday night, the night before Turner’s disappearance. Tuesday morning  Tameka Turner called Tieray Jones. Jones indicated to Tameka that Jahi fell off the bed and hit his head on the dresser "when the cats jump and scared him." He went on to state that Jahi had a small bump on his head and it was "no big deal." 

The affidavit states a board certified child abuse doctor looked at the symptoms described in the journal and "believes them to be consistent with either blunt force abdominal trauma or a serious head injury."

"Significant inconsistencies" from Jones throughout the investigation are also laid out in a section in the affidavit.

Your affiant also noted significant inconsistencies between the various statements given by Jones to law enforcement about the events of April 25, 2002. Of particular note are the following:

The time Jones and Jahi Turner arrived at 28th Street Park:

10:00 hours

13:20 hours

Who was at the playground with Jahi Turner:

Two white kids, one woman watching

Two kids, two women watching

Two girls, one woman

Two boys, one woman

How Jones and Jahi Turner Separated:

Jahi Turner wanted a drink and followed Jones for 30 feet to a vending machine; Jones did not look back

Jones left Jahi Turner by the slide

Jahi Turner went back to the playground while Jones walked away

When Jones noticed Jahi Turner was gone:

Came back, sat by tree, looked at playground, saw no kids

Came back, sat on bench, realized everyone was gone

Noticed they were gone while walking back

How long Jones was away from Jahi Turner:

Not more than 15 minutes

3-to-4 minutes at the most

Evidence collected during the investigation also casted doubt on Jones’ statements. The apartment laundry basket had a onesie belonging to Jahi, and forensic testing indicated his blood was on the article. Forensic testing of an Elmo blanket recovered from the bed in the residency also had traces of Jahi;s blood. A child’s red pajama outfit was collected from the trunk of Jones’ car was positively identified by Tameka Turner as belonging to Jahi. Tameka also stated there was no reason for his pajamas to be in the trunk of Jones’ car. Additional articles of clothing belonging to Jahi were also found in the trash dumpster near the Jones’ apartment, included a pair of Winnie the Pooh overalls identified as Jahi’s by Tameka in 2016. Additional items belonging to Tameka Turner were also retrieved. Turner revealed Jones never discussed throwing away any of her or Jahi’s belongings. 

Jones told authorities Jahi was wearing a long sleeve navy blue shirt with Winnie the Pooh and Tigger on the front, navy blue nylon pants with extra pockets on the knees and gray Michael Jordan shoes when he went missing at the playground. 

The affidavit concludes with this statement from Mekenas-Parga:

It is your affiant’s opinion that the totality of the circumstantial evidence, witness statements, Jones’ evasive interview statements and Jones contradictory journal entries, when considered with the obviously fabricated disappearance story, support the inference that Jones either inflicted an intentional injury on Jahi Turner in response to his urination problems ultimately causing Jahi Turner’s death, or Jahi Turner suffered an accidental injury of some sort and Jones thereafter neglected and refused to secure the needed medical aid for the child, resulting in his death. Under either theory, Jones is criminally responsible for the death of Jahi Turner.

Probable cause to arrest Jones was found through the information provided in the affidavit. 

Categories: Local San Diego News