TRINITY COUNTY, Texas (KETK) — The son and daughter-in-law of a Trinity County couple were arrested in connection to the couple’s murder, according to court documents.

Jacob Patrick Chrones, 34, and his wife Adeline Aparicio-Rodriguez, 35, were arrested and charged with murder and tampering with physical evidence.

Jacob Chrones & Adeline Aparicio-Rodriguez

Karen and Clayton Waters were missing for two weeks before their remains were found on Saturday, officials said. Chrones is the biological son of Karen, the arrest affidavit stated.

The bail for Chrones and Aparicio-Rodriguez is set at $1.55 million each.

Authorities said that Clayton died from being shot after getting into an argument with Chrones and Aparicio-Rodriguez. According to Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace, Karen’s cause of death was either strangulation or suffocation.

Photo of James Waters and Karen Waters
Clayton and Karen Waters

During their investigation, officials said that a ball gag was used on Karen to “keep her from screaming.”

When the remains of the Waters were recovered, some bones were found in a burn pit at Chrones’ house and the rest were found at three different locations in three different counties, according to Wallace.

According to the sheriff, a possible motive for the murder was alleged abuse to Chrones as a child by his mother.

Authorities notified

Concern was initially raised when Clayton did not show up for work on Sept. 14 and 15 and his supervisor was not able to reach him due to his phone going straight to voicemail, so he requested a welfare check, according to the affidavit.

When deputies spoke with a neighbor, they were told that Clayton and Karen were “on vacation and would be back in a few days,” documents said.

Authorities said they later found out that this information came from Aparicio-Rodriguez. She also told deputies when they contacted her that the couple was on vacation, so deputies declared the initial welfare check as “unfounded.”

After still not being able to reach Clayton, his supervisor then requested another welfare check on Sept. 16, according to the affidavit. Deputies spoke with Aparicio-Rodriguez and she told them Karen asked her to watch her four dogs, including her service dog, and told her that they were going out of town, documents said.

According to Aparicio-Rodriguez, Karen had not told her where they were going or when they would return, the affidavit stated.

Officials told Aparicio-Rodriguez to have Karen contact the sheriff’s office and confirm that she and Clayton were okay, but that never happened, deputies said.

Aparicio-Rodriguez gave screenshots of text messages to authorities from a number that appeared to be Karen’s that showed an exchange between the two on Sept. 16 around 8:50 a.m. and another exchange around 2:36 p.m.

The second exchange had messages that Aparicio-Rodriguez claimed Karen sent saying things like:

  • “Why are the sheriffs calling me?”
  • “I don’t know they are asking for Clay what’s going on?”
  • “I don’t know but you need to call them back.”

Tracking the cell phones

According to the warrant, officials tracked where Clayton and Karen’s phones pinged and they concluded that Clayton’s phone had not been powered on for 48 hours on Sept. 16 and that Karen’s phone turned off around 12:33 p.m. on Sept. 16.

Officials contacted Chrones, who gave them access to the couple’s separate trailers which showed they were living apart for some time but neither trailer showed signs of a disturbance or of travel or departure. Medicine bags and toiletries were left behind.

Clayton’s motorcycle that he was last seen driving leaving work on Sept. 13 was in the shed on the couple’s property, officials said. Two trucks that were registered to Clayton and Karen were in the driveway.

According to the affidavit, Aparicio-Rodriguez told deputies that she asked to borrow Karen’s car because Jacob had a meeting to go to in Katy and that she needed a second car to take their children to gymnastics in Huntsville.

She told authorities that Karen agreed to let Aparicio-Rodriguez use her car and that Karen dropped the car off on Sept. 14, but that she was not home when the car was dropped off and could not provide a time frame.

Chrones and Aparicio-Rodriguez said that Karen told them to drop her car off at the airport so she could pick it up when she returned from vacation, the affidavit said.

According to documents, Aparicio-Rodriguez said that she and Chrones dropped the car off at the airport on the night of Sept. 14 at The Parking Spot 2 in Houston. Originally Aparicio-Rodriguez said that she drove the car down and that Chrones followed her in their personal vehicle but “provided an inconsistent account” and said that he instead drove his mother’s car and his wife followed.

Officials discovered that Clayton and Karen’s phones pinged cell towers at the same time going from Trinity to Humble, but Clayton’s phone was either powered off or died at 11:47 p.m. on Sept. 14.

Karen’s phone remained active and pinged at the gymnastics place in Huntsville, the affidavit said. When asked by officials, they said Jacob denied having Karen’s phone with him at the time.

What deputies found

On Sept. 16, a friend received a text from Karen’s phone saying, “I’m not ignoring you had to go take care of my mom… bad cell reception.” There was also a similar message sent to a prospective job supervisor.

Authorities contacted Karen’s mother, who let them know that she was not sick and had no reason for Karen to visit her, the affidavit said.

Officials discovered that there was a prescription for Karen that had not been picked up as well as no transactions being made besides automatic payments.

Aparicio-Rodriguez claimed that they were taking $280 out of Karen’s bank account every other day for payment for taking care of the dogs and to feed and water them, but there were no transactions reflecting this claim, according to the affidavit.

When searching Chrones and Aparicio-Rodriguez’s phones, it appeared to authorities that some text messages and pictures had been deleted from the physical devices that were around the dates of the couple’s disappearance. Information from the pings showed that the evidence on the phones should exist, authorities said.

Officials said text messages between Chrones and Aparicio-Rodriguez said:

  • “Got her… go to Lufkin she is being a bad girl”
  • “Got the package in the room… resistance whole t”
  • “Trying to keep her alive till you get back”
  • “What medication?”
  • “If any medication she’s talking about her being diabetic”
  • “I guess… used the ball and she passed out!!!”

Chrones and Aparicio-Rodriguez were taken into custody on Sept. 30.

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