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Woman charged after allegedly taking dead boyfriend's vehicles


A West Plains woman who allegedly took two vehicles belonging to her deceased boyfriend after his death has been charged with two felony counts of first-degree tampering with a motor vehicle.

Carol J. Jones, 60, was arrested Nov. 21 and released on $10,000 bond the same day, according to court records. The charges were filed Oct. 10 after an investigation was initiated by Willow Springs Police Officer Jake Cronin following an Aug. 26 call from the boyfriend's family member stating there had been unauthorized people at the deceased man's house in Willow Springs.

The caller told Cronin he was the man's grandson, and Jones had driven her boyfriend to Kentucky to be with family at the end of his life, but left after he had died.

The caller added Jones had taken his grandfather’s truck, wallet and hospice paperwork when she left, had forged paperwork to put his grandfather's Camaro in her name, and was trying to take the rest of his belongings. The pickup truck, a white Ford, was supposed to go to his grandfather's sister, the caller said.

When Cronin arrived at the house, all the lights were on and the door was open, and there was a green pickup truck with a trailer attached parked in the driveway, but no one was there.

Unable to get anyone to come to the door, Cronin asked the grandson for permission to enter and secure it, seeing the inside was in disarray with items scattered everywhere. Cronin and Officer Cary Gates entered and announced themselves several times with no response, and after seeing dog feces throughout the house called animal control to come take three dogs found on the premises. During their walk-through of the house, the officers also reportedly saw paperwork scattered throughout and several doors and cabinets open, giving the appearance there had been a search for something specific in the paperwork.

Evidence photos were taken of the rooms, Cronin added, and he locked the house. As Cronin was about to leave, a vehicle pulled in and the officer spoke with a man who told him he had been asked by Jones to take care of the house and dogs, and that she and another man had taken a gun, truck and the Camaro.

The man who had been asked to take care of the property also told Cronin the vehicles had been packed full of items when they were taken.

The caller told Cronin he didn't know the man who had arrived, and on Aug. 27, the officer met in person with the caller and the sister of the deceased at a business in Willow Springs to take their statements. The two explained they knew what had been going on with the property, and the woman reportedly told Cronin Jones had contacted her after the woman’s brother died to ask if she wanted the truck or the house, to which the sister reportedly told Jones she, the sister, owned the truck, reportedly irritating Jones. Cronin noted the sister said Jones knew the truck was not hers, and added Jones’ name is not on the deed to the house, either.

After conducting the investigation Cronin concluded Jones had taken the truck to Tennessee, knowing it wasn't hers.

Public court records show a criminal setting for Jones’ case is set for Tuesday morning in the courtroom of Associate 37th Circuit Judge R. David Ray; she is not required to appear. She previously waived a formal arraignment and reading of charges and pleaded not guilty during an initial appearance before Ray on Nov. 27, the records show.

Jones is represented by Special Public Defender D. Colin Young and the case is being prosecuted by Howell County Prosecuting Attorney Mike Hutchings and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jodi Wake.