Body of missing 3-year-old is found; mother is charged

Relates to:
Date: 2006-01-28

Body of missing 3-year-old is found; mother is charged

January 28, 2006
Associated Press
ALMA, Ga. - After a two-day search, police found the body of a 3-year-old boy whose adoptive mother reported him kidnapped before she finally confessed to slaying him.

Searchers found Ahmad King's body Friday on a tree farm off a dirt road in neighboring Appling County, about 15 miles from the boy's home in rural south Georgia.

"The body was approximately 20 yards off the road in a row of pines and concealed with straw," said Jeff Evans, special agent in charge of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation office in Douglas.

Agent Evans said the body was taken to the GBI crime lab for an autopsy.

Mary Jane King's false story that her adopted son had been kidnapped Tuesday led police on a chase that began at a Wal-Mart in Jesup, 30 miles from her home near Alma.

She said Ahmad had been taken from her car in the parking lot after she left him there briefly to get a shopping cart.

"Just bring him back or leave him with somebody," Mrs. King pleaded tearfully during an interview with Savannah television station WTOC after she reported her son missing. "We just want him back."

The GBI said Thursday that Mrs. King, 34, admitted she concocted the story to cover up that she had slain the son she had adopted just last year.

She has been charged with Ahmad's murder and with concealing his death.

"She is aware" that Ahmad's body had been found, Mr. Evans told reporters at a news conference, though he would not describe her reaction in detail. "When someone's a parent, you would anticipate a certain reaction that I didn't see."

However, the news stunned residents of this small farming community, who knew Mrs. King as a dedicated foster mother to several children in recent years.

Joyce Cason, who owns a small grocery and barbecue restaurant less than a mile from Mrs. King's home, said Mrs. King baby-sat her 4-year-old grandson when he was barely a year old.

"This woman who's done this is about the best woman I know," Ms. Cason said. "I have been to her house 100 times and it was always clean and neat. She was real gentle. I never heard her yell at anybody."

Ms. Cason's daughter, a child-welfare caseworker in Alma, was so fond of Mrs. King as a sitter that she got Mrs. King to start taking in foster children more than two years ago, Ms. Cason said. Ahmad was among the first of several foster children sent to Mrs. King's home, she said.

"They had him when he was in diapers," Ms. Cason said of the child who affectionately called his adoptive mother "Jane Jane." "She loved him."

Friends gathered Friday at the small woodframe house Mrs. King and her husband, local construction worker Tim King, have on Georgia Highway 32 just outside Alma, with a trampoline and toys in the front yard and a cotton field across the street.

Mr. King has not been charged in Ahmad's slaying.

"At this point, we have nothing that leads us to believe of his involvement or knowledge," said Rick Curry, the district attorney for Georgia's Waycross District that includes Bacon County.


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