HEARD COUNTY, Ga. - A Heard County investigator tells FOX 5 they’ve developed a list of persons of interest in the disappearance of 27-year-old Natalie Jones. One name on that list belongs to a former boyfriend who is accused of hiring a hitman to kill a Troup County deputy.
Jonathan Lawrence was in jail in Troup County when he was accused of trying to hire someone. The plan was foiled by an undercover officer after authorities say they learned of the plot. In neighboring Heard County, investigators say they are looking into Lawrence’s relationship with missing mother Natalie Jones, who disappeared while driving home from a July 4th celebration with friends in Alabama.
Earlier this year, investigators say Lawrence was arrested on drug charges. It’s that arrest that might give Lawrence an alibi in Jones' disappearance because investigators say he was out on bond and wearing an ankle monitor.
“We got a hold of the people in charge of his ankle monitor to check to see where he was during Natalie Jones’ disappearance," said Lt. Dan Boswell of the Heard County Sheriff's Office. "It didn’t show he was anywhere near the area she had been located at.”
Boswell says the ankle monitor does not rule Lawrence out as a person of interest although he says it strengthens his alibi.
Investigators say Lawrence and Jones split up six months before she disappeared, but kept in touch. And although investigators say he is a person of interest in the case, he has not been named a suspect nor have any others on their list.
They have followed up on hundreds of leads since Jones disappeared while driving back to her home from a July 4th celebration. Some of those leads coming from as far away as California. Her phone went dead on July 5 and her bright pink Chevy Cavalier is also missing.
Natalie Jones was last seen driving her bright pink Chevrolet Cavalier
And although investigators say her disappearance is suspicious, they have yet to find evidence of foul play.
“So we don’t have evidence that a crime has been committed so to speak. We are investigating as if it is. We are hoping that she will just show up someday and say ‘here I am. I’ve been gone for a while.’”
If you have information that can help find Natalie Jones, call the Heard County Sheriff’s Office or the GBI.