UPDATE: Reward increased for Wise County murder suspect's capture
Monday will mark three months since the murder of Janina Jefferson, who was on the job for the town of Appalachia when she was killed. Authorities have charged her ex-husband, Eric Jones, with first-degree murder in her killing. Jones remains on the run, evading capture. We have been digging into the investigation and just learned the U.S. Marshals Service has increased the reward to $2,500 for information leading to his arrest. Jefferson's murder is a tragedy that's shocked the entire community where she lived and worked. I sat down with a number of investigators to talk through the details of what happened to her. In fact, they all told me they have lost sleep at some point, trying to find Jefferson's accused killer. "Even when we're off-duty, we're texting each other and calling each other asking 'hey what do you think about this?' Throwing around ideas," Lt. Tim Wagner said. According to court documents, Jefferson was married to Jones for about three years. When their divorce was finalized last September, a protection order and charges were filed against Jones that night. "Obviously, something had been going on between them for some time," Sgt. Duane Phillips said. Those charges accused Jones of throwing her against a wall and trying to choke her. The criminal complaint also charged him with trespassing at the very same spot Jefferson was killed just two months later at her workplace, the town water plant. Just days before her murder, Jefferson renewed an emergency protective order against Jones on November 18 and applied to extend it November 21. She was killed on the night of November 27. An autopsy shows the mother of three died of a gunshot wound. Kilgore said, "Janina Jefferson was a mother. She was a daughter and sister, and a friend to many. Those people miss her dearly." A major development in the investigation came last month when an accused accomplice, Jacob Seth Rowland, was arrested and charged. "Mr. Rowland faces six different charges. The most serious carries a maximum of 20 years," Commonwealth's Attorney Chuck Slemp said. Rowland is believed to have dropped Jones off at the town water plant where Jefferson was found murdered. Authorities are hoping they will now get a tip that leads them to Jones. They tell me it might be someone in the community who can assist. "The smallest piece of information can take us a long way in our investigation," Phillips said. The Wise County Sheriff's Office tells us people are welcome to submit tips anonymously. The accused accomplice, Rowland, remains in jail and is set to appear in court soon on March 7.