California Professor, 69, Accused of Murdering His 29-Year-Old Ex-Wife
(LOS ANGELES) — A distinguished professor at California’s Naval Postgraduate School has been arrested in connection with the death of his much-younger ex-wife, whose body was found discarded alongside a highway last week.
Lawrence R. Jones, 69, was taken into custody in Los Angeles Friday morning, hours after a forensics team, including FBI experts, searched his home in Monterey, which is 320 miles up the coast from Los Angeles.
It was unclear what Jones had been doing in Los Angeles, authorities said.
“There was evidence to determine the crime happened at that residence,” Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Lamonica of the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office said of Jones’ home in Monterey.
An FBI forensics team became involved at the request of the San Benito County Sheriff’s Office.
Lamonica said he could not reveal what authorities found, due to the ongoing investigation.
The body of Norife Herrera Jones, 29, the professor’s estranged wife, was found on Sept. 7.
Investigators used dental records to identify Jones, whose body had been dumped off Highway 101, near Gilroy, a town 40 miles north of Monterey.
“After the autopsy, we were able to determine she had a prior residence with her husband, Larry Jones, in Monterey,” Lamonica said.
The professor, who serves as the chairman for Financial Management at the Naval Postgraduate School, had been married to his Filipino-born wife for nearly five years until they recently divorced.
It was unclear how the couple met or the circumstances surrounding their separation, however Lamonica said investigators are looking into the couple’s background.
Sat Kirtan Khalsa, Jones’ neighbor on Spray Avenue, where he has lived since 1987, said she saw a change in her usually reticent neighbor after he got married.
“He raved on and on about how great everything was going,” Khalsa told the Monterey Herald. “He was a quiet person so it was unusual. It’s about the only thing he shared with us over the years.”
Jones had been a professor at the research school, which is operated by the U.S. Navy, since 1987.
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