Officials, colleagues and neighbors of a Naval Postgraduate School professor arrested in his ex-wife's slaying tell of suicide attempts, verbal abuse and angry outbursts in a marriage that legally ended days before the victim was reported missing.
Court records show that final divorce papers for Lawrence Jones, 69, and Norife "Janie" Herrera Jones, 29, were filed Aug. 31 in Monterey County after five years of marriage.
Officials believe that about that time, Janie Jones traveled to Monterey from her San Jose home to sign the last of the papers. What happened after that is a mystery investigators are working to unravel.
Lawrence Jones was arrested Thursday in La Mirada after Janie Jones' body was found Sept. 7 beside a road in Aromas. Police say they believe she was killed inside her ex-husband's Spray Avenue house. Officials have not disclosed the date or manner of death.
Lawrence Jones, known to colleagues as Larry, is an internationally recognized financial management expert who worked as a consultant for the Asian Development Bank and was a visiting scholar at universities around the world. He taught at NPS and has lived in Monterey since the late 1980s.
Janie Jones was an accomplished businesswoman with two business degrees who worked at multinational corporations in her native Philippines. She was described by co-workers and friends in Monterey and San Jose as "sweet" and "trusting" -- perhaps to a fault.
Monterey police Lt. Leslie Sonne said detectives have searched Janie Jones' apartment in San Jose and said her car "is under our control," although she did not say if the vehicle was found in Monterey or elsewhere.
Police investigators have focused on the slaying, she said, and have not filed any other charges.
"We do not know if there will be (more) charges as we get further into the investigation," Sonne said.
Earlier this year, Janie Jones began severing ties with her estranged husband, moving last month to a San Jose apartment and changing her phone number, said friends and police.
How she ended up in the Spray Avenue house -- and how long she was there before her death -- is not clear.
Police said they are looking into friends' suspicions that she was kidnapped before she was killed.
"We have not been able to verify how or why they were together" before her death, Sonne said. "We are certainly looking at that angle."
Friends and former neighbors said the marriage appeared happy at first and that Janie Jones told them she loved her husband the first couple of years. Then things got bad for about two years and last year, she left.
Janie Jones told friends that Larry Jones, a Stanford University graduate, became upset after the Stanford football team lost a game and things escalated from there.
It was the outburst that led Janie Jones to say "enough," said friends.
Colleagues gave her clothes and helped her move to San Jose. She found work and settled into her new life.
Larry Jones, however, didn't appear to take the breakup well. As the divorce came close to being finalized, friends and investigators said he cut his wrists and begged her to come back to him.
Many years ago, during a previous marriage, he slit his wrists and an ambulance took him to the hospital in the middle of the night, next-door neighbor Sat Kirtan Khalsa said.
These and other attempts tugged at Janie Jones' heart.
"She was heartbroken about the marriage falling apart," said a friend who asked not to be named in this story.
But Janie Jones was determined to move on.
She planned to visit relatives in Asia this month, and after relatives hadn't heard from her for days, friends filed missing persons reports.
When detectives announced they had found an Asian woman's body in Aromas, "We knew it was her," a friend said.
"This doesn't happen overnight," the friend said.
Colleagues warned Janie Jones to leave Larry Jones for years, said the friend, who wonders in hindsight if those close to Janie Jones should have been more insistent.
"People need to say, 'Enough.'"
Meanwhile, an undisclosed medical issue on Tuesday kept Lawrence Jones from appearing at a scheduled arraignment, Monterey County Jail staff said.
Jail Chief Jeff Budd said officials were hopeful Jones would be able to appear for arraignment on Wednesday.
Monterey Herald staff writer Claudia Melendez Salinas contributed to this report. Contact Julia Reynolds at 831-648-1187.