6abc Investigates: Answers sought in baby's death

UPPER DARBY, Pa. - November 1, 2013

Action News Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman tracked down family members to ask "Who killed baby Ja'Den Jones?"

Police say the baby's mother and other people who were inside the home that night are refusing to cooperate. Investigators say all the clues suggest that one of them snapped Ja'Den Jones' neck.

Two years later, the trail is running cold and no one has been charged with his murder.

"I'm telling you, based on everything in my 49 years of experience, that baby was killed inside that house," says Upper Darby Police Chief Michael Chitwood.

¬ The night was November 6th, 2011. Police reports say little Ja'Den Jones was found "unresponsive, not breathing, and without a pulse" in a second floor bedroom of a home in Upper Darby. The investigation confirmed 4 people were inside that night. Investigators tell Action News they are certain those 4 people know exactly what happened.

"The answer is there," Chitwood tells Action News. "They know who did it."

The baby's mother, Princess Jones, came back to the home in the early morning hours. In a statement to police, she said she found Ja'Den on his stomach. She "picked him up and his lips were blue. So she put him on the bed and started CPR."

Police say Jones' daughter Jewel, who was 16 at the time, was also there as was Ja'Den's cousin Rudy Jones, and a family friend Eugene Koikoi.

"There are no 'ifs,' 'ands' or 'buts' about it. And one of those family members killed that baby," Chitwood said.

At first Ja'Den's death was thought to be the result of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS.

The other family members confirmed the same alibi; Ja'Den was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom. He appeared fine. Jewel, Rudy and Eugene Koikoi had all dozed off in other rooms nearby.

But autopsy tests told another story, according to Chitwood: "They find that the baby has a broken femur in one of its legs, and they find that it's neck was snapped. Well that's not SIDs."

The report obtained by Action News shows a previously fractured thigh bone was "consistent with child abuse." Five months after Ja'Den died, the manner of death was ruled a "Homicide." The medical examiner said Ja'Den was "beaten by another person."

That's when police say family members suddenly stopped cooperating.

"There is not one family member that came forward," Chitwood told Action News. "There is not one friend that came forward with any type of information. That is disgusting when the only people that care about the death of a 4-month-old baby are the police."

Upper Darby Police Superintendent Michael Chitwood said it was like the family took a vow of silence.

Action News tried to track down Princess Jones, in search of answers. But no one, including the child's own mother, would speak with us.

Jones' attorney, Jeremy Alva, sent a statement saying "Ms. Princess Jones is still grieving over the tragic death of her son."

Neighbors described Princess as withdrawn. Jones' former landlord says Princess left the house in shambles.

"She broke my kitchen tile, she broke my cabinets, and there was a lot of damage," said Nasima Ullah.

Police say they were originally narrowing in on a suspect, but they fear the trail has started running cold 2 years later. Their only hope now is that someone will crack and that one day there will be justice for Ja'Den.

Chitwood says he's pressed the Delaware County District Attorney for a grand jury, but says the suspect and family members refused to respond to their subpoenas. He hasn't given up on solving the death of this 4-month-old.

If you have any information you are asked to contact the Upper Darby Police. Their phone number for anonymous phone tips is 610-734-3439.

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