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Police: Finding Eric Jones a daily priority for investigators

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WISE COUNTY, Va. - The effort to find an accused killer from Wise County has turned into an international manhunt. Eric Jones is wanted for shooting and killing his ex-wife, Janina Jefferson, while she was on the job at the town water plant in Appalachia a year ago. News 5 finds out why the manhunt is crossing American borders and why Jones is proving so elusive.

"He had a charisma about him," Sgt. Duane Phillips said. Phillips has been one of the investigators on the case with the Wise County Sheriff's Office.

It is not how you might expect a murder suspect to be described, but Wise County authorities have been dealing with Eric Jones for decades. They said he fits right in with everyone.

"He went to church. He blended in with everyone at church. He went with the guys after church," Phillips said.

But after a murder for hire conviction in the 1990s, authorities know Jones gained experience on the Run. Back then, he was picked up in Texas in a possible flee for Mexico.

"We think that possibility that he's out of the country is a very real possibility. We've also heard Cuba. We've tapped into all the resources in those countries," Wise County Assistant Sheriff Colonel Grant Kilgore said.

With the town of Appalachia ripped apart for a year now over Janina Jefferson's killing, police are still working daily to find Jones.

"We know who committed the crime. Now, it's just a matter of finding him and bringing him to face the court system and to face justice," Kilgore said.

Investigators said they are following significant leads, the latest of hundreds since the shooting at the town water plant.

We reached out to Jefferson's family who said they remain hopeful Jones will be found and brought to justice.

The U.S. Marshals Service has posted a $5,000 reward for information leading to the capture of Eric Jones. You can contact the Wise County Sheriff's Office to report that information.

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