January 02, 2024
Zackary Keith Jones, of Lincoln County, Kentucky, was apprehended and taken into the custody of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office on Christmas of 2023, after responding to a domestic violence call at Jones’ home on Robertstown Road. The call to police had been made by the suspects own mother, Rhonda Jones, who reported a fight between Jones and a young female she described as his girlfriend.
She said: "They were arguing, yelling and screaming. It's probably the hardest thing I had to do."
Officers arrived at the residence on the 1400 block of Robertstown Road and made contact with Jones, he falsely informed them that his “girlfriend” was not home. His mother ensured the officer’s that the girl had not left the residence between the time she called for assistance and the arrival of the police.
Jones was quickly removed from the premises and put into the back of a police vehicle after attempting to destroy drugs, and evidence of drugs, from his bedroom, which he tried to throw into a wood stove.
Officers then began to sweep the home in search of the victim.
An officer pulled back a rug in Jone’s bedroom to reveal a trapdoor style hatch in the floor. Inside he found a missing 16-year-old girl, who had disappeared from Fayetteville, North Carolina more than a month ago. He described the girl as being “very high.”
Lincoln County Sheriff Shawn Hines said in his statement regarding the case: "After doing some investigation, they realized she was there and there was a room cut out in the floor that you access through the floor, and it was covered with a rug."
When later asked how she had ended up in the home of Zackary Jones, the girl explained that she had met him online over 2 weeks earlier, where he had claimed to be a 19-year-old. The pair organised for Jones to pick her up from her grandma’s house in his car, and once at his Kentucky home, she suspected he was much older than he had claimed he was and asked him why he looked older in real life than he did the photos he had shared online.
Jones admitted he was not nineteen, and claimed to be twenty-five, despite the fact that he was actually thirty-four. She would later learn his true age after communicating with his family members.
Jone’s mother, Rhonda, later told WRAL: “I asked him how old she was. He said, 'she's 19.' So, I took that as the truth," she said. "I believed him, because a lot of girls looked older than they are." “To me, she willingly came with him. I just feel like, they'd probably been talking. I don't know how long he's been texting her. From what the cops said she was unhappy where she was at, and she felt like she was cared for and came with him."
Images of Jones post-arrest show a Caucasian male appearing to be in his late thirties, with unkempt hair in shades of dark and light brown.
The girl was officially reported missing on December 06, 2023.
The victim told police that during the drive to Kentucky, Jone’s vehicle was stopped by traffic police for a routine check, and Jones had purportedly told her that if they were asked to get out of the vehicle, he was going to shoot the Lincoln County sheriff's deputy that had pulled them over.
According to the victim, he threatened to kill her if she didn’t claim to be 18 years old when asked by his family. Allegedly saying he would shoot her if she didn’t comply. She said he threatened her multiple times.
After being read his Miranda rights, Jones reportedly kept offering information to police, including that he had engaged in sexual acts with the victim and forced her to perform sexual acts on him. The victim said Jones used marijuana and crack cocaine. She added that since she didn’t go “up there,” she had not seen the drug paraphernalia strewn around the room herself.
Jones claimed the victim's grandmother had "kicked her out," and said the minor "hid of her own free will," when officers arrived at the scene.
The teenagers grandfather said he did not believe Jones was trying, in any way, to “help” his granddaughter, rather that he was searching for a vulnerable victim to exploit.
Jones purportedly admitted to the police that he had “gotten her high” before engaging in sexual acts with the minor.
According to ABC, Although he denied strangling the teenager during the assaults, the victim had marks on her neck that suggested otherwise.
Rhonda Jones said of discovering the truth about the situation: “I was shocked. I’m always upset when he lies to me.”
Jones faces multiple charges, including rape, assault, strangulation, sodomy, sex with a minor, domestic assault of a minor, false imprisonment, use of a minor in a sexual transaction by electronic means, terroristic threatening, possession of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence.
Jones is, at the time of writing, being held at the Pulaski County Jail without bond.
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