Autopsy rules 20-month-old was alive when grandmother baked her in an oven after stabbing her
The grandmother, 48-year-old Carolyn Jones, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. She's currently being held on a $500,000 bond
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
Last week, a gruesome crime in Mississippi saw a grandmother arrested after she allegedly killed her toddler granddaughter and baked her inside an oven. The incident, which unfolded in Shaw, a small town of just 2,000 people in the Mississippi Delta, left the country in shock. The culprit, 48-year-old Carolyn Jones, was taken into custody by the Bolivar County Police Department, though the motive for committing such a horrendous act remained unclear.
While law enforcement authorities are still investigating what may have triggered Jones into killing 20-month-old Royalty Marie Floyd, another burning question has finally been answered. At the time, while it was certain that the child was stabbed and burned, the timeline of events was unknown.
Royalty's body was sent to the state crime lab in Pearl for an autopsy and according to the Mirror, the coroner has determined that the 20-month-old was still alive when Jones placed her inside the oven. The official cause of death was established as both stabbing and burning. However, authorities still have no information on the circumstances leading up to the child's death.
Speaking on the incident, Bolivar County Sheriff Kelvin Williams Sr. admitted he did not know whether mental illness would factor into the case and added, "I've been doing law enforcement for 25 or 26 years now. This is one of the most horrible things I've seen in doing law enforcement. The hardest part... is to see a child victim."
Williams said that it was Jones' brother who found the body of Royalty on the night of October 15 and alerted authorities to the crime. Deputies who arrived at the residence on Martin Luther King Drive found the toddler inside the oven and arrested Jones, who was the only person with the 20-month-old at the time. The child's mother, Veronica Jones, was living elsewhere at the time.
WMC5 reported that friends and family held a candlelight vigil to remember the toddler. Speaking during the service, Shaw Mayor Everett Stanton said, "The love, support, the sharing that we do there in Shaw, we always look out for each other and this was really shocking, and it hurt." Neighbors similarly expressed their shock at finding out such a horrific crime had unfolded so close to their homes.
Her mother set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to pay for the toddler's funeral arrangements. A description read, "My daughter would have been 21 months old on October 17, 2018. Royalty was so beautiful & I loved her more than anything in the world."
Jones was charged with first-degree murder over the incident after the police department consulted with Bolivar County District Attorney Brenda Mitchell and the 48-year-old made her initial appearance before a judge on October 16. Her bail was set at $500,000 and she currently remains jailed. It is not known whether she is being represented by a lawyer.