Social services revealed they visited the home of a father who killed his five children – but found the children happy and well adjusted.
Timothy Ray Jones Jr, 32, is accused of killing his three boys and two girls, wrapping their bodies in separate trash bags and driving around for days with their decomposing bodies before dumping them on a rural hilltop in Alabama.
He has admitted to killing them and waived his first court appearance, which was due in Lexington, South Carolina, on Friday.
Attorney Aimee Zmroczek says Jones has been held in isolation under suicide watch.
His five children – Merah, eight; Elias, seven; Nahtahn, six; Gabriel, two, and Elaine Marie, one – will be remembered at a memorial in Mississippi.
South Carolina social services officials said they visited Jones’ homes a dozen times in the last three years.
The children seemed happy and well adjusted despite occasional spankings, and the family took a summer trip to Disney World and the beach, according to documents released by the Department of Social Services.
Authorities never found anything serious enough to take the children away, but the documents suggest signs of distress in Jones, a divorced computer engineer raising his children as a single father.
In the last visit, a social worker wrote: “Dad appears to be overwhelmed as he is unable to maintain the home, but the children appear to be clean, groomed and appropriately dressed”.
The memo dates to August 13, just two weeks before the children’s disappearance.
The children are believed to have been killed shortly after Jones picked them up from school and day care on August 28.
They were killed “by violent means”, police said.
Jones’ ex-wife reported the children missing about a week later. She reportedly had an affair with a 19-year-old neighbour.