Polk County in Iowa
Polk County in Iowa
Des Moines in Polk CountyDes Moines in Polk County

Eric W. Jones


Eric W. Jones
7 months old
510 Payton Avenue
Des Moines, IA
Case # 1993-17587
May 3, 1993


Seven-month-old Eric Jones was killed May 3, 1993 at his 510 Payton Avenue home in southwest Des Moines.

Des Moines police list his death as an unsolved homicide.

510-Payton-Ave-SW-Des-MoinesCourtesy photo Google
7-month-old Eric Payton was killed at this 510 Payton Avenue home in Des Moines on May 3, 1993. No one has ever been charged in his death.
About Eric Jones

Eric was born on September 9, 1992, to Debra Renee and William Howard Jones, who’d purchased the Payton Avenue home April 3, 1990.

Information Needed

If you have any information about Eric Jones’ unsolved murder, please contact the Des Moines Police Department at (515) 283-4864.



19 Responses to Eric Jones

  1. erica says:

    Its so incredibly said that there is such little information on a baby whose life was cut so short. I know its not this websites fault but if it was due to just a disease alone it wouldn’t of been ruled a homicide, maybe negligent homicide from the sounds of it.

  2. Jack Jackson says:

    After reading through the comments on this page, I feel that a great disservice has been done to the deceased, Eric William Jones, due to the spread of information here in the comments which is not accurate. If a person came along and read the comments here and took them at face-value, they would be severely misinformed. Therefore I would like to point out certain facts about this case.

    First and foremost, according to the Des Moines Police Department and Jody Ewing (who administers this website), this case is classified as an unsolved homicide. This is a fact and not a clerical error. What it means is that, at minimum, homicide could not be ruled out as a cause of death, and so the case is investigated as such in order to pursue justice for the deceased, if necessary.

    Second, no evidence exists in the public record that Eric suffered from Guillain-Barré Syndrome as has been suggested here in the comments on this page. That medical condition is extremely rare and affects fewer than two out of every 100,000 people on average. While it is an extremely serious and potentially fatal condition, its symptoms do not match those which have been attributed to Eric.

    Third, according to the Des Moines Register article published on May 11, 1993, Eric actually had Prader–Willi Syndrome, a genetic disorder associated with a host of symptoms including developmental disabilities, low IQ, behavioral problems, and physical abnormalities. The symptoms of Prader-Willi Syndrome are far more consistent with those which have been described by others here. For example, children with Prader-Willi Syndrome frequently require a feeding tube as part of their treatment. This condition is far more common than the aforementioned Guillain-Barré Syndrome, occurring at a frequency of up to one out of every 10,000 births.

    Fourth, according to Dr. Francis Garrity, the doctor who performed the autopsy on Eric Jones, “there is no medical evidence connecting the disorder to the baby’s death.” Therefore, the results of the autopsy disagree with certain statements which have been made here suggesting that Eric died as a result of a disorder he had. Absolutely no evidence suggests that the infant’s death was the result of his genetic disorder.

    Fifth, according to statements given by the Des Moines Police Department to the Des Moines Register newspaper which were published in the same paper in May of 1993, investigators believed that child abuse may have played a role in Eric’s death.

    Sixth and finally, according to the Polk County Medical Examiner at the time of Eric’s death, R.C. Wooters, the results of the autopsy showed that the cause of death was an injury to the infant’s head, consistent with, among other possibilities, having been struck.

    In this post I have shared only the facts which were duly provided by law enforcement, medical professionals, and journalists at the time of Eric William Jones’ death. None of these statements are based on my feelings or opinions, save for my opening paragraph in which I stated that I felt aggrieved by the spread of inaccurate information here.

    I believe these facts represent the other side of the story that has not been shared here. While I empathize with those who lost their loved one, I believe that in the interest of the deceased, all sides of the story should be given due consideration. Although I sincerely hope that some sort of error was made at some point in the investigation, and that Eric died of natural causes rather than as the result of homicide, all people owe it to the deceased to rule out potential foul play before casting judgment.

    • Stay Strong, Keep Fighting For Justice! says:

      This is a factual, articulate, well thought out, well written, and thought provoking post that resonates with credibility. One of the better ones I’ve read on this site. Nice work.

    • Jeannie Lewis says:

      This was a long time ago. I was at the hospital when he was born and there when he was buried. His grandmother was a friend of mine. This is what she knew at the time. I knew both parents and they never laid a hand on any of their kids let alone a newborn baby. It’s sad and let Eric rest in peace. Let his family have peace.

    • David Jones says:

      Yes Eric had Prader-Willi Syndrome which was the cause of his death. Thank you for bring that up none of these wanna be detectives could figured it out which is why I didn’t mention the name of it. No one in my family did anything to my brother. We were told exactly what you said Prader-Willi Syndrome caused his death. I love my brother that was the worst thing to ever happen to me and I have been blown up by IEDs in Afghanistan. Once again thank you for being the only one not accusing my family when they didn’t know all the facts.

  3. mary hyndman says:

    ok i have a question. I cant find anywhere about what happened just that he died at his home as a child or baby. Did someone enter the house? I do though feel sorry for you loss i would like to brain storm anything you have if it will help

    • David Jones says:

      What the reports fail to mention. Is my brother had a desise that ended up killing him. The reason the police saying murder. Is because they don’t know about it th police even talked to a expert on it said how Eric died is exactly how infants with the desise die.

      • Jody Ewing says:

        David, is the disease you are talking about SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)? Police usually base the “manner” of death (accidental, homicide, natural, undetermined) on the medical examiner’s autopsy report. Many M.E.’s (who know exactly what to look for with SIDS) will rule out SIDS as the cause of death and mark the death as undertermined.

        In your brother’s case, Des Moines police must have felt the child died under mysterious circumstances because they assigned Eric a case number and still consider his death an unsolved homicide. This (from Wikipedia) is a basic explanation of SIDS:

        SIDS is a diagnosis of exclusion and should be applied to only those cases in which an infant’s death is sudden and unexpected, and remains unexplained after the performance of an adequate postmortem investigation, including:

        an autopsy (by an experienced pediatric pathologist, if possible);
        investigation of the death scene and circumstances of the death;
        exploration of the medical history of the infant and family.
        After investigation, some of these infant deaths are found to be caused by accidental suffocation, hyperthermia or hypothermia, neglect or some other defined cause.[13]

        Australia and New Zealand are shifting to the term “sudden unexpected death in infancy” (SUDI) for professional, scientific, and coronial clarity.

        The term SUDI is now often used instead of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) because some coroners prefer to use the term ‘undetermined’ for a death previously considered to be SIDS. This change is causing diagnostic shift in the mortality data.[14]

        In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently proposed that such deaths be called “sudden unexpected infant deaths” (SUID) and that SIDS is a subset of SUID.[15]

        In another short section called AGE, they say:

        SIDS has a 4-parameter lognormal age distribution that spares infants shortly after birth — the time of maximal risk for almost all other causes of non-trauma infant death.

        By definition, SIDS deaths occur under the age of one year, with the peak incidence occurring when the infant is at 2 to 4 months of age. This is considered a critical period because the infant’s ability to rouse from sleep is not yet mature.[3]
        More here:

        I am very sorry for your loss, and I hope that if you look closely at some of these comments, the people were not trying to “attack” your family but rather try to pose possible theories as to why Eric died. Police work always involves theories and while many can be proven, many cannot. Also, I am by no means an expert with SIDS, but from what I do understand, most SIDS cases occur while the child is under the mother’s care. Husbands are often at work or in the field, and the “didn’t wake up from a nap” explanation is quite familiar to most investigators.

        When people take time out of busy days to leave a comment here, they normally do so because they care deeply about a death with no known answers. Law enforcement officials consider many different theories in each case, and cases get solved because they follow up on each theory to see if it holds any truth. Every suspicious death investigation begins by looking at/questioning those closest to the victim. (This is how husbands/wives/mothers/fathers/etc. are ruled out as suspects.)

        Thank you for taking time to post your concerns here, and again, I am very sorry for your loss.

        • Davif says:

          He did not have SIDS. Just because a baby dies doesn’t me it is automatically SIDS.Their their is more then 1 disease that can kill babies. I am not going to put any of my families medical records on the internet. I love how people comment on things they don’t have any clue about. That is all I’m going to say on this subject.

          • Jody Ewing says:

            David, I did not say your brother had SIDS. I “asked” if they considered it a possibility. I’m very much aware that babies die of other diseases besides SIDS. I personally did not choose to classify your brother’s death as a homicide; that is how it is classified with the Des Moines Police Department, which is why your brother’s case is included on this website.

            All best,
            Jody at ICC

            • Jeannie Lewis says:

              Guillaine-Barre is the disease Eric had.Debbie and Bill were very loving and good parents. This child had to be fed with the tube and they had the paramedics come and help giving CPR on more than one occasion. This child was not murdered.

        • Teresa Ann Bannister Handy says:

          no, he never said sids he saidPrader – Willi syndrome (pronounced PRAH-der WILL-ee) is a complex, rare genetic disorder that results from an abnormality on the 15th chromosome. Identified in 1956, it occurs in about one in 15,000 live births, in both males and females equally, and in all races.


  4. Tina Carroll says:

    Howard and Renee do have an older son named Justin Jones. I see that Debra and William divorced 01.09.2001.
    Debra= born 9.17.1961
    William H Jones born= 1.1.1962
    Blanche Marie Jones born = Oct 29 1942

  5. andrea says:

    Howard and Renee have an older son, Justin. If I have the records right, he was born in 1986 and in 2002 he was found delinquent of assault causing bodily injury. Court records also suggest that for a while he was placed with his grandmother Blanche Jones.

    Don’t they have John Doe hearings in Iowa where people can be compelled to testify (though given immunity if they are compelled)? Why can the adult kid now not be compelled to testify regarding what may have gone on in the home? If I have his ID right, he’s got a couple young kids himself.

    This entire thing reminds me of ‘Death in White Bear Lake’ involving the murder of a young child while everyone put their heads in the sand for two decades before a parent was charged.

    40 years ago more or less my first cousin’s mother threw him and his baby sister off a bridge, resulting in the death of the baby and injuries to my cousin. The unsolved death of a baby is very troubling for me, on such a personal level.

    • David Jones says:

      Okay for one Justin yes he was found delinquent of assault causing bodily injury. He was defending our sister so she would not have been hurt physically by a kid in the neighborhood who was much bigger then our sister if he didn’t intervene she would have been assaulted. He was protecting her so know your facts before you post things. Justin was 7 when this happened and I was 12 we both were at school we were not there when Eric passed.So therefore he needs immunity for nothing. As far as William(my father) he is a good father who never laid a hand on us yes he got into some trouble but that all was after my brother died because he could not handle the fact that his baby died. He is a very good father who had trouble dealing with the death of his child. So please stop bashing my family when you know nothing of them or the facts regarding any trouble any of them may have been in.None of you commenting know anything or any facts about this case. Their is nothing to tell about my brothers death because if I believe someone did something to my brother believe me I would not stay quiet. I would come forward and say what I know. As far as the foreclosure lots of peoples houses go into foreclosure.Why do you have to turn an article about my brother into a story about your family. What happened to your cousin is very sad but it has nothing to do with my brother or my family. How would you feel if random strangers who know nothing about your family was bashing them? Just because someone in my family has a record (after the fact) doesn’t mean they are guilty of anything. My father defended this country. Please stop accusing innocent people. How would you feel if the finger was pointed at you? I struggle every day, miss my brother Eric every day and I love him very much and this is a very sensitive subject for me. I will defend my family that you are trying to accuse that I know in my heart had nothing to do with his death.

      • Dren says:

        Sorry for your families pain

      • Deb says:

        I have my opionions on the matter, never heard that babies die from prader willis syndromn, my aunt had this issue, what I know about it as they do not know they are full and think they are hungry, my aunt would constantly throw up, even as a baby, I was told

  6. Jody Ewing says:

    Andrea, this is one of those cases where we just have very little info. All I have on file for Eric is the document from the DMPD (listing his name, address, case #, date, etc.) and the SSDI file, which didn’t even list his parents’ names. Eric’s name is, however, mentioned in Des Moines Register articles (about other cold cases) dated Sept. 13, 2003, Feb. 20, 2004, and April 11, 2005, all of which just provide his name at the end as an unsolved homicide from 1993.

    I really appreciate your efforts, and look forward to any other info you might be able to uncover!

  7. andrea says:

    When I look at the Polk County Assessor’s webpage, it shows that at that point in time the property was owned by a William H. Jones. Then in 1994 there was some sort of foreclosure.

    When I look at the Iowa courts website, there is a William Howard Jones that certainly seems to have been in a lot of trouble with the law. Is this one of the cases where the police know who did it but have insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution?

    The Iowa courts website also shows that William’s former wife is named Debra Renee

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