FREEHOLD, N.J. (AP) — Bail has been set for three people accused of covering up the death of an abused New York City girl whose remains were dumped in central New Jersey a decade ago.
Prosecutors say a recent tip enabled authorities to identify the victim as 9-year-old Jon-Niece Jones, of Harlem.
Thirty-nine-year-old Likisha Jones of Manhattan and 35-year-old James Jones of Brooklyn, the child's aunt and uncle, are jailed on $40,000 bail. The third suspect, 48-year-old Godfrey Gibson, who is Likisha Jones' boyfriend, is being held on $75,000 bail.
The investigation came to be known as the "Baby Bones" case after burned, skeletal remains were found in Upper Freehold Township in 2005.
Authorities say the girl died in 2002 after years of abuse by her mother. The mother died of natural causes four months later.
Police in New Jersey have identified a child whose skeletal remains were found in 2005 as a New York City girl who was the victim of years of abuse. They also charged three people, including her aunt and uncle, with covering up her death.
A tip received within the last two months enabled authorities to identify the victim in what came to be known as the "Baby Bones" case as 9-year-old Jon-Niece Jones, of Harlem, Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said Wednesday.
The investigation found that the girl died at the Harlem home of her aunt, Likisha Jones, on Aug. 15, 2002, following years of abuse by the child's mother, Elisha Jones, the prosecutor said.
Authorities allege the mother, the girl's uncle James Jones and the aunt's boyfriend, Godfrey Gibson, disposed of the body in Upper Freehold Township after setting it on fire. Elisha Jones died four months later of natural causes.
"The family members of Jon-Niece Jones turned a blind eye to the constant physical and mental abuse this girl endured for years," said Col. Rick Fuentes, superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, which investigated the case with the county prosecutor's office. "Because of the hard work by investigators, these three suspects will now have to answer for their alleged unthinkable actions."
Likisha Jones, 39, of Manhattan; James Jones, 35, of Brooklyn; and Gibson, 48, of Manhattan, were charged Tuesday with hindering apprehension, tampering with evidence and obstruction of justice.
Likisha Jones and Gibson were arrested at their home, and James Jones turned himself in at a Harlem police station, the prosecutor said.
They were being held at the county jail in Freehold pending a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Monmouth County Superior Court. Prosecutors didn't know if they had attorneys.
Officials used DNA to identify the remains, including a skull and jawbone, that were discovered by a hunter in tall grass.
The case got attention in 2009 when detectives appeared on the TV show "America's Most Wanted" to seek help in solving the case.