DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The husband of a 26-year-old woman whose decomposed body was found in a dilapidated Detroit home has been charged with her murder as police continue to search for her missing children.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy on Thursday issued multiple charges against 28-year-old Erin Justice, including first degree murder and felon in possession of a firearm, in connection with the death of Alicia Fox. Justice is currently being held in an Atlanta, Georgia jail and is said to be fighting extradition to Michigan.
Also charged in the case is 27-year-old Timothy Jones, who is expected to be arraigned on one count of accessory after the fact in 36th District Court on Friday. The prosecutor’s office said Jones, who was arrested in Detroit, allegedly knew about Fox’s slaying.
Authorities say Justice killed Fox sometime between May 25 and May 27 before dumping her body in an abandoned house in the 6800 block of Penrod, near the Southfield Freeway and Warren Avenue on the city’s west side. Police say the couple had recently separated.
Fox’s relatives have told authorities they last saw the mother and her children — 6-year-old Kaylah Hunter and 8-month-old Kristian Justice — on May 24. People living next door to Fox said that was about the time they saw a U-Haul truck outside Fox’s home. Her badly decomposed body was found wrapped in blankets on Monday. An autopsy showed she had been shot twice in the head.
Fox’s uncle, Michael Fields, told reporters that he found the body after family members got an anonymous tip that his niece might have been in the area. The discovery came hours after Detroit police issued a missing persons alert for Fox and her two children. Police are trying to identify the person who gave Fox’s family the tip.
Justice, the baby’s father, was arrested in the Atlanta area on Wednesday after voluntarily making a statement to police the day before.
“I have no idea why he was in Atlanta,” Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters.
Detroit homicide investigators flew to Georgia Thursday morning to speak with Justice, who has also been interviewed by FBI agents. Craig said police believe Justice may know where the children are, although he did not elaborate.
“We’re hopeful that the children are alive,” Craig said. “That’s the story we want to bring to you, and certainly the grieving family of the mother’s…That’s our hope.”
Investigators dug holes and combed the backyard of a home on Ardmore Street that Fox and Justice shared after receiving a tip that the children might have been buried there.
“This is actually a very nice neighborhood, except for two abandoned homes next to Fox’s home,” WWJ Newsradio 950′s Charlie Langton reported from the scene, in the 7 Mile and Lodge area.
“I actually went behind there; it’s a gruesome scene,” Langton said. “There’s actually the holes where police were looking for the children…of course the kids were not found.”
Investigators also found blood evidence at the home, Craig said. Potential evidence was also recovered from a dumpster in Dearborn, behind the Islamic Center of America on Ford Road.
Justice refused Thursday to waive extradition from Georgia, said prosecutor’s spokeswoman Maria Miller, who added that the office has up to 30 days to file a warrant for a hearing to get Justice returned to Michigan.
Wayne County Circuit Court records show Justice pleaded guilty to carrying a concealed weapon in 2008 and was sentenced to probation.
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