More families come forward to try to stop killer's release

Published On: Dec 27 2013 07:00:39 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 27 2013 06:37:52 AM CST

Dec. 26, 2013: More families are coming forward as prosecutors and investigators dig deeper into the past of a suspected serial killer. Robert Arnold reports.

HOUSTON -

More families are coming forward as prosecutors and investigators dig deeper into the past of a suspected serial killer.

The renewed effort to re-investigate Genene Anne Jones comes as the 63-year-old former pediatric nurse is approaching her release from prison. While only convicted of one murder, Jones is suspected of killing more than 40 children in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"I get asked all the time, why do you keep doing this?" said Petti McClellan-Wiese. "Why, emotionally, do you put yourself through that? Because I have to."

For nearly three decades McClellan-Wiese has pushed for someone to take a closer look at Jones.

"There's been many times I've kicked, screamed, yelled, begged, pleaded," said McClellan-Wiese.

Those long years of work paid off last month when Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed announced she was re-opening the investigation into Jones.

"The fact that they said this definitely needs to be looked into, this needs to be investigated, it meant everything," said McClellan-Wiese.

Jones was convicted of killing McClellan-Wiese's daughter Chelsea in 1985 by giving her an overdose of muscle relaxants. At the time of her conviction, Jones was also suspected of killing dozens of other babies during her time as a pediatric nurse in San Antonio and Kerrville.

However, court records showed that since the now defunct hospital Jones worked for shredded so many of the documents regarding the children's deaths, no prosecution for those cases was pursued.

"These were helpless infants, babies who couldn't scream, yell or even try to protect themselves," said victims rights advocate Andy Kahan.

Kahan and McClellan-Wiese have spent years trying to get prosecutors to look at the old cases involving Jones before she is released from prison. Even though Jones was sentenced to 99 years in prison for Chelsea's murder, she was sentenced under an old Texas law meant to alleviate prison over-crowding.

The law at the time allowed violent offenders to shorten the time they are required to stay in prison by accruing so-called "good time."

In April, Local 2 Investigates reported that if another case is not brought against Jones she will be released from prison in 2018.

"What a journey it's been since you first aired this story and brought this to light," said Kahan.

Kahan said not only has the Bexar County District Attorney's Office agreed to re-open all the old cases involving Jones, more than a dozen families have now come forward with information about their children's deaths while under Jones' care.

A Facebook page, "Victims of Genene Anne Jones," was also created and now has more than 800 members.

"We're here and we're going to fight to the end to keep her in prison," said Marina Rodriguez.

In 1981, Rodriguez was 15 years old when her son, Feliciano, died after she says Jones gave him what she thought was an immunization at a San Antonio clinic. Rodriguez said at the time she did not speak English and couldn't read, so no one paid attention to her suspicions that her son's death was not an accident.

In fact, Rodriguez said last month is the first time since her son's death she formally met with an investigator.

"It took 30 years to do my statement with the San Antonio Police Department," said Rodriguez. "While I'm here on earth, while we're here, she will stay behind bars, she has to."

As part of the renewed investigative effort, prosecutors are also digging into the files of an old civil lawsuit brought against the hospital where Jones worked. The case involved several families who lost children under Jones' care. The cases were all settled out of court.

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