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Kenneth Jones pleads guilty in Stephanie Eldredge case

Kenneth R. Jones
Kenneth R. Jones (November 14, 2019)

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The man who is being held for the death of Stephanie Eldredge pleaded guilty Thursday.

According to court records, Kenneth Ryan Jones pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter charges. He also pleaded guilty to a Felony charge of Destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence and a Misdemeanor charge of Resisting or Obstructing an Officer.

The new charges stem from a plea agreement.

He was originally charged with Murder II.

Eldredge was reported missing on Aug. 20, 2007 from her Idaho Falls home. Her body was found on April 23, 2010 off a dirt road in the foothills east of Idaho Falls.

Jones was in custody for a probation violation when he was charged for the murder of Eldredge on March 22, 2019.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for January 21, 2021.

Details of the case were made public in a probable cause affidavit released in July 2019.

An Idaho Falls police officer, Sgt. Jessica Marley, described the evidence in an affidavit that connected 30-year-old Jones to Eldredge's murder.

Eldredge was reported missing Aug. 20, 2007. When her family came home, they found her baby alone. Family and friends all said that Eldredge would never leave the baby alone.

Police began interviewing those closest to Eldredge. That included her boyfriend, Michael Jimenez, the father of the baby; his mother, Linette Theisen; and his half-brother, Jones.

The probable cause document said that it was "apparent" Jones was not being truthful in his interviews. The document showed several times that Jones changed his story.

The day of Eldredge's disappearance, Jones said he went to work. No one from his place of employment saw him there, and there was no record of him clocking in.

Jones later said that he had actually gone to buy marijuana from a friend. His friend said that Jones never came by that day and could not remember the last time he was even at his residence.

In the probable cause document, it shows that Jones claimed to "never" argue with Eldredge. Again, Jones changed his story and said he argued with Eldredge the morning she disappeared.

The affidavit also mentions that police and family members saw scratches on Jones. Jones said they were from branches on a bush. Police said that the way he described getting the scratches did not match up with how the scratches appeared.

In later interviews with investigators, Jimenez remembered seeing Jones at the intersection of Ammon Road and Sunnyside Road on Aug. 20, 2007. He said that Jones turned east. It was also the same way to the foothills where Eldredge's body was found.

A man told police that Jones admitted to the murder when they were in jail together. The inmate said that Jones told him how he did it.

Years later, Jones told police that he did not tell the inmate anything. Police interviewed the same inmate years later, and his story stayed consistent.

In 2007, Jones' car was searched. Police found strands of hair and black electrical tape.

The hair was tested, and the result was that the hair could belong to Eldredge or anyone related to her mother.

When Eldredge's body was found, she was wrapped in black electrical tape.

In the probable cause document, Marley wrote that from the investigation, law enforcement had gathered enough evidence to name Jones as the person responsible for the murder of Eldredge.

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