DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A Detroit man charged with killing his estranged wife, whose two children remain missing, has pleaded guilty to a reduced murder charge in an agreement with prosecutors.

The Wayne County prosecutor’s office said Friday that Erin Justice first declined the offer to plead guilty to second-degree murder instead of face trial on charges including first-degree murder in the death of Alicia Fox. However, he later changed his mind and accepted the plea agreement.

The 29-year-old faces 45 to 80 years in prison for the murder charge when sentenced Sept. 22. A first-degree murder conviction is punishable by mandatory life in prison without parole.

Alicia Fox (Handout photo)

Alicia Fox (Handout photo)

Fox had been reported missing in late May 2014, along with her 6-year-old daughter Kaylah Hunter and 8-month old son Kristian Justice. The children remain missing and a $3,000 reward is being offered for information on their whereabouts. Erin Justice is Kristian’s father.

Co-defendant Timothy Jones, 27, pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact in Fox’s death. Jones testified against Justice, saying he helped move Fox’s body and that the children were alive when he last saw them.

Authorities say Kristian and Kaylah were both seen at a family Memorial Day celebration at an aunt’s house on Saturday May 24, 2014. Kaylah was also seen that Sunday, May 25 by a cousin at a home on Ardmore St. on Detroit’s west side. Other family members also saw both children with Justice during this time.

Kaylah Hunter and Kristian Justice. (Handout photos).

Kaylah Hunter and Kristian Justice. (Handout photos).

Kaylah’s father and grandmother were expecting her at her kindergarten graduation in Southfield. When Kaylah didn’t show up, the grandparents called Fox but got no answer from the mother. The grandparents then checked on the family at the Ardmore address, and the home was empty. They then went to police and filed a missing persons report.

Fox’s decomposed body was found about two weeks later inside a vacant house about six miles from her home.

Investigators found Justice in the Atlanta, Georgia area where he fought extradition before he was finally brought back to Michigan in August.

Family members believed Justice knows where the children are, although he hasn’t been charged in their disappearance. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has said investigators have no idea if they’re dead or alive.

If you have any information on the location of these children, you’re urged to make an anonymous call to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

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