A convicted sex offender tricked a woman into digging her own grave in an Indiana sand dune, then killed her with an ax and chopped up her body because she had sex with his son, authorities say in court documents.
Johnnathan Fuller lured Sylvia Marie Jones to the beach in October of 2009, according to an affidavit filed with an arrest warrant issued last week. Fuller told Jones he had buried money on a beach in Gary and they were going to dig up the “loot,” a witness told investigators.
Jones’ skeletal remains were found on Aug. 30, 2010, by a man looking for snakes and lizards near 8801 Melton Road in Gary, between the Indiana Toll Road and U.S. Highway 20. They were not identified until September 2011, after Chesterton and state police investigating Jones’ disappearance were told by witnesses that Fuller had killed her.
Fuller was already in prison on a charge of neglecting a dependant when he was charged last week with Fuller's slaying.
Jones had lived with Fuller and his then-wife in Michigan City, Ind., for two months in the fall of 2009, his ex-wife told investigators last year. Fuller had been taking Jones’ Social Security money, the ex-wife said.
On Oct. 13, 2009, Jones was checked into the LaPorte Hospital after she attempted suicide. Fuller — despite having been a registered sex offender since 1999, according to records — was listed as having power of attorney for her, according to the affidavit.
Jones suffered from “mild retardation,” was cognitively deficient and had bipolar disorder, the affidavit says, citing hospital records.
Around the time Jones was hospitalized, Fuller caught Jones having sex with his son, according to the affidavit. “Sylvia was a problem and he took care of the problem,” Fuller’s ex-wife told police.
At the beach, Fuller took out a sledgehammer ax and hit Jones seven times, bashing her face in and cutting off her hands to make it difficult to identify her, the friend told investigators. “Fuller then … buried Sylvia Marie Jones in the hole she had dug,” according to the affidavit.
Fuller later told the friend he thought it was funny that he tricked Jones into “digging her own grave,” according to the affidavit.
When Jones’ mother called Fuller’s home to try to speak to her after she disappeared, Fuller threatened her, authorities said. “You ain’t going to never see your daughter or talk to her again,” Jones’ mother said Fuller told her, according to the affidavit. “If I have to, I’ll come get you too. … I’ll do you like I did her.”
In January 2011, Chesterton police began investigating Jones’ disappearance and took DNA samples from Jones’ mother and son. An analysis matched the samples to the remains. Authorities then questioned Jones' relatives and Fuller's ex-wife.
A warrant was issued on Sept. 24, and it was served on Fuller at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility in Carlisle, Ind. on Wednesday, according to state police. Fuller is scheduled to appear in Lake County Court on Oct. 19 for an initial hearing, according to court records.