MISSION, Kan. (AP) — A man accused of abducting his two daughters from a Kansas home where their two brothers were killed has been going through a divorce with the children’s mother, authorities said Monday.
Maj. James Sherley, of the Leavenworth County Sheriff’s Department, said 40-year-old Donny Jackson and his wife are estranged and that he had “on-again, off-again access to the children."
The investigation began at around 1:30 p.m. Saturday after one of the siblings didn’t show up for a soccer game, leading the children’s mother and paternal grandmother to go to Jackson's home in Leavenworth, which is about 20 miles (32 kilometers) northwest of Kansas City, Kansas. The bodies of 14-year-old Logan Jackson and 12-year-old Austin Jackson were then found — one by the family and the other by law enforcement. Sherley declined to release the cause of death or comment on motive.
An Amber Alert was issued for their younger sisters, 3-year-old Aven Jackson and 7-year-old Nora Jackson. A Kansas Highway Patrol trooper spotted the girls with Jackson after pulling over his car near Kansas’ border with Oklahoma for a traffic infraction shortly before the discovery of the boys' bodies. That helped law enforcement expand the Amber Alert, which Sherley said worked “flawlessly" and led to a flood of tips.
Jackson was arrested later that night near Erick, Oklahoma. The girls were taken from him unharmed and were returned to their mother over the weekend. Sherley said he didn’t know where Jackson was headed.
Jackson is jailed in Oklahoma while awaiting extradition to Kansas. Leavenworth County Attorney Todd Thompson said he is waiting for the investigation to be complete before making a charging decision. He said he didn't know whether Jackson had an attorney who could speak on his behalf.
Marisa Clausen, who created a GoFundMe account to support the children’s mother, whom she identified as Tara Jackson, declined an interview request and asked that the family be given privacy, The Wichita Eagle reports. She didn't immediately reply to a message from The Associated Press.
The next status hearing in the couple's divorce had been scheduled for Nov. 12, court records show.