Who Took Little William Jones III in 1962?

Three-year-old William Jones III disappeared near his home in Vineland, New Jersey in 1962.

William Jones III

About the Case

On December 17, 1962, William and his two-year-old sister, Jill, were playing outside near their Taylor Avenue home in Vineland, New Jersey. Sometime later, Jill returned home alone carrying a poinsettia. She told her mother that Billy handed it to her before being led away by an unknown man. However, Jill had no explanation for the poinsettia.

A neighbor saw the toddler around 11:45 a.m. that day and told Billy to go home.

No one has seen Billy since.

Decades later, Jill later recalled through hypnosis that her and Billy were holding hands while two men were arguing in front of an oil-drum fire at the Palace of Depression, not far from their family home. Scared, Jill ran home. Billy disappeared. It is unclear why Jill, during hypnosis, did not mention the poinsettia or the man who took Billy.

In 2009, detectives took another look at the case, and Jill submitted her DNA. However, nothing has resulted from either as of this writing. Additionally, police do not believe the poinsettia had any relevancy in this case.

Billy’s parents are deceased. Jill Jones continues the search for her big brother.

True Crime Diva’s Thoughts

Well, not a lot to go on here. William literally disappeared without a trace. And the only person who saw anything was two years old at the time, so I don’t think, even under hypnosis, her memories can be reliable. The reason I say this is there was no mention of the man who took Billy while Jill was under hypnosis, yet she told her mother on December 17th that a man took Billy away. This means she had to see the abductor. Yet she only mentioned the two men fighting at the oil-drum fire near the Palace of Depression.

It also bothers me a little that the police do not believe the poinsettia had any role in this case, and maybe it doesn’t, but here is what I think:

Poinsettias are associated with Christmas and are given as gifts or used as decorations during the holiday time. Maybe it was like an exchange – the poinsettia for Billy. Let me be more clear. The kidnapper was giving a gift or payment, if you will, for taking Billy. Maybe he didn’t feel right just taking the boy without giving something in return. I know it may sound silly, but you never know. People are strange.  Maybe there was a little remorse there for what this man was about to do. This makes me wonder if perhaps this man took Billy to raise as his own. Maybe his wife lost a child prior to December 17, 1962.

But I also think the two men arguing at the oil-drum fire could have either had something to do with Billy’s kidnapping or might have seen something. I found no mention in any reports on whether or not they were interviewed by police. But what are the chances that, if Jill’s memories are true, those two men or one of them, did not take Billy once Jill ran off. Again, to believe this you have to have faith in the hypnosis.

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Author: truecrimediva

True crime blogger

  • Chris

    Who leaves a 3 year old in charge of a 2 year old to begin with? Even in 1962 that seems absurd!

    Jill told her Mom that Billy had been led away by a man. Can a 2 year old speak well enough to communicate this to a parent?

    It makes me wonder about the parent(s)…

    • Ted

      Hi Chris:

      That would be my first thought. Whenever baffling details come out (such as the one you just mentioned here), my initial question is WHY would anyone DO anything so damn dumb!? I know that some folks would take umbrage with me and say that I was blaming the victims, but come on!

      I remember two cases from the old “Unsolved Mysteries” show that illustrate this point.

      1. A man is murdered by two unknown assailants in front of witnesses at the office he owns. During the re-enactment, his wife reveals that coming home tipsy from a holiday party he said “Honey if you knew some powerful people did something really bad…would you report them?” She dismissed it as drunk talk but tearfully said “Looking back on it, I wish i’d pressed him more on it.” YA’ THINK!?

      2. A young woman is ambushed and murdered while driving on the highway. In the months leading up to this, the young woman asked her mother:

      “Mom, is it ever okay to have an affair with a married man?”

      “No, Sweetie, it’s never okay to have an affair with a married man; why do you ask?

      “Oh, I was just wondering.”

      “Looking back on it…” SMH & FP

  • BFL

    It wasn’t explicitly stated in your story, but Charley Project states that it is a plastic poinsettia. That made me think of an artificial flower arrangement, like something that would be in a cemetery. Since it was getting closer to Xmas at the time, it could have been from decorations, like a wreath or some kind of window decoration. And somebody had to give it to her (unless it had broken off and fallen to the ground) since she was 2-y/o and wouldn’t be able to reach anything that was much taller than her.

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for writing about these kids that many have forgotten! May all be found one day–hopefully alive!! <3

    • Thank you! It is my pleasure. Many don’t realize there have always been missing children. It’s not something that just started happening 2 or 3 decades ago. We just didn’t have the media we have today to report on them. The internet allows for so much, including keeping awareness on these particular cases. 🙂