2022 | Police & Fire

Northwest High student, 17, charged in killing of fellow student in January

Case remains under investigation; others might have been involved, police say

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Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones speaks to reporters on Monday about the latest in the killing of a 17-year-old Northwest High School student in January. He was joined by State's Attorney John McCarthy, right.

Photo by Dan Schere

This story was updated at 6:30 p.m. on May 16, 2022, to include the latest information

A 17-year-old male student at Northwest High School in Germantown has been charged in connection with the killing of a fellow student in January.

Jailyn Lawrence Jones, 17, was found dead in the 18900 block of Grotto Lane around 3 p.m.  Jan. 24. Jones was a senior at the Germantown school, according to Principal Scott Smith.

The 17-year-old, who police identified, has been charged with first-degree murder and was held without bond Monday by a Montgomery County District Court judge. The teen has been charged as an adult, however Bethesda Beat generally does not identify juveniles who have been charged with crimes.

According to a review of doorbell surveillance camera footage, Jailyn Jones left his family’s home around 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 – three days before he was found dead, Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones told reporters Monday. Before leaving the house, Jailyn Jones had planned to meet a fellow student referred to as “Te,” who as later identified as the suspect.

Jailyn Jones was found “deceased in a small creek” in the 18900 block of Grotto Lane on Jan. 24, the chief said Monday. The victim had been stabbed multiple times and had wounds to his head and torso, according to the chief. Additionally, police recovered boots and jeans with blood evidence, he said.

An autopsy conducted in Baltimore by the state medical examiner’s office determined that Jailyn Jones’s death was a homicide caused by “blunt and sharp force injuries,” the chief said. Police conducted a forensic analysis of the boots and jeans and determined that they contained the DNA of both Jailyn Jones and the 17-year-old suspect, Chief Jones said.

On May 12, police and the State’s Attorney’s Office obtained a warrant charging the 17-year-old with first-degree murder and the suspect turned himself in to authorities Sunday night, Chief Jones said.

During a bond review hearing in District Court for the 17-year-old on Monday, Jailyn Jones’  mother shouted, “He killed my son,” and other observers began to shout. They then were warned by the bailiff that they would be removed if they continued to interrupt the hearing.

After the 17-year-old was ordered held without bond by Judge John Moffett, people on opposite sides of the courtroom began to shout. A few people on the right side of the courtroom walked toward people on the left side who were also shouting and tried to confront them, but they were restrained by a bailiff and escorted out of the courtroom.

The 17-year-old is scheduled to appear May 27 for a preliminary hearing. State’s Attorney John McCarthy said Monday that he expects the case to remain in adult court, as per state law.

Chief Jones said the case is still under investigation and it’s possible others might have been involved. No motive for the killing of the Northwest student has been determined yet, the chief said.

“All I will state is that we do know that [Jailyn Jones and the suspect] knew each other,” the chief said. “There was a relationship between the two. They went to high school together, so outside of being fellow students, we believe that they were known to each other in the community.”

On Monday, the police chief urged anyone in the community with information to contact authorities.

“This investigation is still very active. We’re not done yet. We’re still interested in speaking to anyone who has any further information about this investigation,” he said.

Violence weighing on community in Germantown

According to Chief Jones, there have been 14 homicides in the county so far in 2022; police said there were 35 in all of 2021. He said he empathizes with those in the community who have been disturbed by an uptick in violent crime, particularly in Germantown. He again asked for community members to call police if they know of troubled youth who are having conflicts with each other.

 “We encourage them to contact authorities so that we can do something about it before we have a tragic ending such as we have today,” he said.

Jones noted that it was also in Germantown where a 20-year-old Frederick man was allegedly shot to death in April. Boys ages 14, 15 and 16 have been charged in the killing.

On Monday, Smith, the Northwest High principal, sent a letter home to families stating that mental health and counseling services would be available to students in coming days, and that the school system plans to have a mental health and wellness forum later this month.

The letter also suggested that anyone in need of immediate mental health support should seek out resources including:

  • Montgomery County 24 Hour Crisis Center 240-777-4000
  • EveryMind crisis hotline and text line 301-738-2255
  • EveryMind online chat every-mind.com/chat

Staff writer Caitlynn Peetz contributed to this story

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com