Wife, Step Son of Purgatory Worker Found Murdered

washington utah homicide

WASHINGTON -A family argument led to the death of Michelle Jones, 42, and her 19-year-old son Owen “Christopher” Ellis.

Last night around 9 p.m., neighbors heard gunshots and immediately called 911. At least one neighbor ran outside and saw the horrific scene. Purgatory maintenance worker Richard Jones, 46, had allegedly shot his step son inside the home at 126 Wagon Wheel, Washington, then allegedly shot his wife in the driveway, one witness who asked not to be named said.

Michelle Jones and her son were pronounced dead at the scene. Richard Jones survived an apparent self inflicted gunshot wound to the head and was life-flighted to Las Vegas.

As St. George News was on scene investigating the incident, neighbors said they also saw one of the family dogs dead on scene and another dog was missing. However, another neighbor told St. George News both animals are OK.

Neighbors described Rick Jones as a good man who was quiet and loved to cook, but said he and his wife had been having trouble and had separated for six months last year. They said Michelle Jones described her husband as a good man “until he drank … ,” one neighbor said.

Washington County Public Safety Director Jim Keith did not indicate whether alcohol was involved in last night’s incident.

Multiple agencies from around the county arrived to assist the Washington City Public Safety Department, including Washington County Sheriff’s Department, St. George Police Department, SWAT and Utah Highway Patrol.

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  • Christine February 18, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Have been refreshing my facebook page every couple of seconds to find out WHERE in Washington this is happening???

  • loir February 19, 2011 at 12:02 am

    If you through the family dollar parking lot and out the other side you are on frontier, The street that intersects with frontier after 3 houses is wagon wheel. It happened on the corner of wagon wheel and frontier.

  • Diane February 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    The dogs were taken to the shelter, both are OK. This was a horrific night, nothing like seeing your neighbors body laying on the ground for hours

  • Jen Watkins February 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    Thank you Diane, we have added that to the story.

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