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Missing Woman's Daughter Speaks Out After Man Leads Police To Body 21 Years Later
Brian Jones traveled across state lines to allegedly confess to authorities that he killed missing Florida woman Janet Luxford, and to lead them to her remains. Now Luxford's daughter, who was left alone when her mom disappeared, is speaking out.
The daughter of a woman who's been missing for more than 20 years is speaking out after a man led authorities to human remains.
Amanda Luxford Fernandez, 33, told reporters she is still reeling from the news that the disappearance of her mother, Janet Jones Luxford, 41, may finally be solved, according to AL.com.
Officials, however, say they have yet to formally identify the skeletal remains found in a suitcase in Bessemer, Alabama, earlier this year — and it could take up to nine months to do so.
The grisly discovery came just a few days after Brian Edward Jones, 62, allegedly traveled from South Carolina to Alabama with the sole intention of confessing to his role in Luxford’s 2001 death, as previously reported. Jones was charged with murder and abuse of a corpse on March 29.
Jones admitted to authorities he waited two decades to come forward for fears that he would disappoint his parents, who recently passed away.
Luxford was last seen in September 2001 after leaving her Jacksonville, Florida, residence, and witnesses later said they spotted her leaving a Bessemer motel with an unidentified truck driver, which Jones has now allegedly confessed was him.
Fernandez — who was 12 years old when her mother vanished — told the Alabama outlet that she had lived in Florida with Luxford for a while; her siblings lived with different members of their father's family out of state. Her mother had remarried but was separated when she reportedly met Jones at a Jacksonville hotel where she'd been working before her disappearance.
Fernandez continued to live with her stepfather after the two separated but remembers having met Jones during one of the afternoon visits with her mom.
“I physically met this man. I have looked this man in the face,” said Fernandez. “Brian told me he would take care of my mom.”
“Yeah, he took care of her,” she added. “But not the way I thought he was going to.”
Fernandez believed that Jones may have reintroduced Luxford to drugs, which her mother had struggled with in the past.
Bessemer Police previously said that Jones and Luxford were in a romantic relationship and that, after leaving Florida, the pair allegedly got into an altercation at the Bessemer motel when Luxford wanted money to go and visit her family in California. Jones then allegedly said he struck Luxford in the throat with a golf club, causing Luxford to collapse.
He maintained her death was an accident.
Authorities in Bessemer were floored when Jones came to confess to the decades-old killing, as they hadn’t even heard of Janet Luxford, who was reported missing in 2002 by family members out in California.
“It’s not a homicide that we even had on our radar,” said Bessemer Police Lt. Christian Clemons. “It’s something that he committed here 21 years ago, and nobody knew that it happened besides him.”
Fernandez, however, claimed that investigators in both Alabama and California spoke to Jones following Luxford’s disappearance.
Fernandez told reporters her mother vanished the same day the woman was released from the hospital, according to AL.com.
Luxford reportedly said she'd threatened tried to take her own life, prompting a physical fight between Luxford and Jones over the knife. Luxford cut her hand “down to the bone” in the altercation.
“At the time, this man hurt my mother. She was basically defenseless,” Fernandez claimed. “She was 4-feet, 11-inches, and not even 100 pounds. She was a very small woman, which is how she was able to fit in a suitcase.”
Luxford seemingly left Florida of her own volition while her daughter was at school, taking all her belongings. She left a note to entrust her daughter to the care of the mother of one of her friends until Fernandez was 16.
“He convinced her on packing up everything. Not only did I lose my mom, I lost everything of my childhood,” said Fernandez. “I never heard from her again.”
Over the years, Fernandez had held out hope that her mother could still be alive.
“We’re happy we’re getting answers,” said Fernandez. “But we’re also going to get some justice.”
Jones remains at the Jefferson County Jail, where he is being held on $765,000 bond.
“I will be at peace once I have my mom’s remains,” Marie Wilhelm, Luxford's other daughter, reportedly wrote on Facebook. "I know she has been with me and watching over me all along in spirit. I just didn’t know it. RIP, Mama. You can now be at peace.”