The Deck - Kétie Memory Jones (5 of Clubs, North Carolina)

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Our card this week is Katie Memory Jones, the five of clubs from North Carolina.

In 2016, Katie was walking home from a night out with friends enjoying one of the last

warm nights of the year when something bad happened that has haunted her friends and

family for years and has left investigators puzzled to this day.

Now law enforcement is providing new details about Katie’s case, hoping that someone

with information will come forward and justice can finally be served.

I’m Ashley Flowers, and this is The Deck.

It was October 15th, 2016, about 2.40 in the morning in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A man who we’ll call Joe was still awake watching TV in his living room when all of

a sudden he heard some loud noises outside.

They were either gunshots or fireworks, Joe wasn’t sure.

But then a loud alarm started going off, and the alarm was too loud and too close for

Joe to ignore, so he went outside to see what was going on.

Unbeknownst to Joe, as he was walking toward the sound of the blaring alarm to investigate,

other worried neighbors who’d also heard those concerning noises were alerting police.

Charlotte, max number 9-1-1, do you need police, fire, or medic?


No, it’s not at our home.

We can hear it from our home.

I just heard a gunshot, voices, and an alarm going off, and a scream.

You said an alarm?

An alarm, a gunshot, voices, a scream.

As that 9-1-1 call was being placed, Joe was walking up on a scene that he would never


He had followed the alarm sound to Berry Hill Realty, which housed its office in a former

home in Joe’s neighborhood.

His heart started to race when he spotted a young 20-something woman on the ground.

At first, he thought maybe the woman had been drunk and just passed out in the driveway

of the business.

I mean, after all, it was 2.40 in the morning, and it wasn’t totally uncommon in Charlotte’s

Plaza Midwood neighborhood because it’s within walking distance of some late-night bars.

But then, Joe saw a pool of blood on the sidewalk, so that’s when he called 9-1-1.

Charlotte, max number 9-1-1, do you need police, fire, or medic?

Police and medic.

Somebody is laid out here.

There is blood.

I have not checked her yet, but I heard a loud noise.

I came outside of 2-0-21.

There’s an alarm going off at this real estate agent in the corner, and she is laid out in

the parking lot.

I don’t want to move her, but she is face down, and there is blood.

The man’s name is redacted from the report, so Joe is a pseudonym.

Within two minutes of that 9-1-1 call, first responders started to show up.

The first responders immediately noticed the woman had been shot in the chest, and she

was bleeding out.

They also noticed some superficial injuries, scratches on her cheek, her elbow, her hip,

and one of her fingers.

Immediately, officers wondered if the injuries were from the woman fighting off her attacker,

or if she’d hurt herself in the fall after she was shot.

Now, the woman was still alive, but barely.

And though she was rushed to a hospital, she was pronounced dead not long after she arrived.

Officers that stayed behind at the scene called crime scene investigators to come process


But there wasn’t much evidence to collect.

One of the only items left behind was a crossbody purse the woman had been wearing when she

had been shot.

Inside was $300 cash, some business cards for a nearby restaurant, a bottle of pink

pepper spray, a deck of cards, and the woman’s ID, which read Katie Memory Jones, date of

birth December 19, 1989.

She was 26.

Since there was no mystery around who the woman was, police got to work right away trying

to talk to Katie’s friends and family members.

Not only did they need to break the horrible news that Katie had been murdered, but they

needed help piecing together what she had been up to before she was killed, and if anyone

knew who could have done it.

So they headed to the address that was listed on Katie’s ID, which was not even a mile

from where she’d been murdered.

It was around 7.30 in the morning on Saturday when they got to her house.

Police knocked on the door a few times, but there was no answer.

Now police later learned that Katie did have a male roommate who friends say she was acquaintances

with, but he didn’t come to the door.

Since police weren’t able to make contact with anyone at Katie’s house or gain entry

to look around inside, they went to the restaurant listed on the business cards that were found

in her purse, Midwood Smokehouse, which was just right around the corner.

That’s where Katie worked, and some of her co-workers confirmed that she had worked that

Friday night.

They said that she worked her full shift, nothing weird happened, and after work Katie

met up with some friends at a dive bar called Midwood Country Club, also in the Plaza Midwood


So detectives decided to track down some of Katie’s friends who all knew each other

by working in the service industry.

There was a group of about six or seven of them who regularly met up for a drink after

their shifts ended.

Here’s Detective Matt Hefner with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department, who our reporters

interviewed for this episode.

Is working the case today?

Katie was popular.

She had lots of friends.

She knew folks from work and hung out with folks from work and folks that she had formerly

worked with.

Just a kind of a happy-go-lucky personality.

Katie’s friends were shocked by the news of her murder.

They said the night before they had all been out and had a good time at Midwood Country


They said Katie had nursed one cocktail the whole night, and they all stayed until the

bartender closed up well after 2 a.m.

By the time the group of friends was in the parking lot saying their goodbyes and popping

into their cars, it was about 2.30 in the morning.

Midwood Country Club was just a mile away from the house Katie was renting at the time,

so she said she was just going to walk home.

She loved walking, and she loved doing it no matter what time of day or night it was.

Now friends did offer to give Katie a ride.

In a report done by Charlotte Magazine in 2017, one of Katie’s friends who was there

that night was quoted, saying that they would offer Katie a ride home as a courtesy even

though they knew that their offer would be declined.

The friend said, quote,

We always offered.

She never wanted a ride.

She loved to walk the neighborhood.

Any of us wouldn’t have thought twice about walking before all this happened.

Up until her, there was no reason not to walk home.

End quote.

Everyone said she would have felt safe.

This was something she regularly walked.

This was not the first time she’d been at Midwood Country Club and not the first time

she’d walked home from Midwood Country Club.

The Plaza-Midwood area was an up-and-coming, artsy sort of neighborhood where you could

work, live, and play all within a one or two mile radius.

But despite this general feeling of safety, Katie wasn’t naive.

Friends said that she always carried with her a pink bottle of pepper spray in case

anything were to ever happen.

It was the same pink bottle of pepper spray found in her purse at the crime scene.

As the investigation was starting out, detectives were considering all types of theories.

Someone could have been laying in wait for Katie.

Did she have enemies, any vengeful ex-boyfriends, or could it have been an attempted robbery

that turned fatal?

That theory perplexed officers, though, since Katie had cash in her purse when she was found.

Whatever the motive may have been, detectives knew that what had happened to Katie happened

on that walk home.

So they began gathering surveillance footage from the area.

They recovered footage of nearly every step of Katie’s walk that night, but unfortunately

none of the footage showed the actual murder take place.

The videos show Katie dancing along the sidewalks, enjoying some cool late-night air.

She was even messaging a group of friends during her walk, sending them pictures of

things that she passed along her route.

According to police, Katie made it about halfway home before she was shot and killed.

And even though detectives couldn’t find footage of her actual murder, some surveillance

video from across the street where Katie was killed does show something else.

Something that could help lead police to a suspect.

Video surveillance shows a car pull up and stop right beside where Katie’s body was

found, in front of Berry Hill Realty.

Detectives have reviewed this footage of what they believe is the killer’s car hundreds

of times since her death in 2016.

It looks like a car is kind of riding up to the area Katie walked into.

You can’t see Katie, but you can see the headlights.

And then you can see those headlights appear to reverse and go backwards a little bit.

The headlights go off.

You don’t see the car.

You don’t see Katie.

Detective Heffner gave us a copy of the surveillance footage, which you can see on

The video is 30 minutes long and at about the 16-minute mark, when the time stamp hits

2.46 a.m., Katie walks into frame.

Now, it’s a little hard to see.

She’s all the way at the other side of the road.

And the only thing you can really tell is that she’s walking at a leisurely pace.

She walks to the corner of the Plaza and Hamorton Place, hangs a left on Hamorton, and then

disappears into the night.

Like Detective Heffner said, after a few seconds, headlights come into frame for a moment when

the time stamp is at 2.47.

They’re on Hamorton Place, right next to the area Katie’s body was found.

After sitting there for a moment, the car appears to reverse.

And by the time the clock hits 2.48, the headlights can no longer be seen.

So this car appears and then disappears, all within a span of about 20 seconds.

Detective Heffner said that the time stamps on the video were actually a few minutes off.

So instead of all this happening between 2.47 and 2.48 a.m., as the video indicates, it

actually took place around 2.42 and 2.43, and it was 2.44 a.m. when the first 911 call

came in about the alarm going off and a possible gunshot.

So detectives were sure that Katie had to have been shot within a few seconds of when

those headlights were seen on the surveillance footage.

Then a little more than 30 seconds after the headlights disappear on the video, you can

see a car speed away from the area.

The car fails to stop at the intersection and continues out of frame.

Now this is where some people have differing opinions.

Some internet sleuths and YouTubers who’ve examined the case, including popular YouTuber

John Lorden, believe that the headlights seen in the video and the car driving away 30 seconds

later are different vehicles.

After all, the headlights do disappear for a few moments, and the surveillance footage

doesn’t definitively prove that it’s the same car.

But for detectives, there is little question about this.

They’re confident that the headlights seen in the surveillance video and the car driving

away a few seconds later are one in the same, and it’s because of the car’s behavior as

it’s driving away from the scene of the crime.

Again the car failed to stop at the stop sign as it came to the intersection.

And listen, you might be thinking like, big deal, it’s super early in the morning and

there probably aren’t a lot of cars out.

But Detective Heffner said that that’s not the case.

He said that this intersection is a busy one, even at 2.40 in the morning, and not one where

you would want to run a stop sign, unless of course you were fleeing the scene of a crime.

But despite having what’s believed to be the suspect’s car on video, police haven’t

been able to determine what kind of car it is.

The footage isn’t the highest quality, and the view of the car is obscured by trees and posts.

Detectives know that it was a tan or silver sedan, but unfortunately it’s impossible

to determine the car’s maker model.

After Katie’s murder hit the news on Sunday, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

received several tips that seemed promising.

It didn’t take long for detectives to learn that Katie had pepper sprayed a man on Central

Avenue just a few weeks before she was murdered.

After learning about this, they actually tracked the man down for questioning, but the only

thing Detective Heffner would tell our team about the interview was that he was ruled

out as a suspect in Katie’s murder.

And in fact, the more police learned, the less likely it seemed that she’d ever encountered

her killer before.

The theory that this might have been a random robbery attempt was looking more and more

likely because they couldn’t find one person who disliked Katie at all or had any beef

with her.

Katie was from North Carolina.

She was born in Asheville.

And according to an article in Charlotte Magazine, Katie’s father died when she was a child.

After that, her family moved around a bit and eventually landed in Charlotte.

After Katie graduated high school in 2008, she moved to New York City to attend Marymount

Manhattan College, where she studied theater design.

But with the high cost of living and tuition, Katie ran out of funds after three semesters

and returned to Charlotte in 2010.

And in 2012, she made the move to the Plaza Midwood neighborhood.

Her friends say that she loved living in an area of town where everything was within walking


She was drawn to the artsy, offbeat aura of the neighborhood.

It was a place that Katie felt like she could just be herself and that she wouldn’t be

judged for what she wore or how she acted or whatever vibrant color she would dye her

hair next.

In a report done by the Charlotte Observer in 2016, Katie’s mother, Javonna Livingston,

spoke about the kind of person her daughter was.

She said, quote, from the very moment she was born, she burst into the world ready to

live life to the fullest.

She naturally brought laughter and smiles to everyone, end quote.

Detective Heffner described Katie as a free spirit.

She loved people and loved animals.

Katie had two dogs and two cats and loved taking in strays.

Her friends said that back in high school, she even took in an injured squirrel and brought

it with her to school.

Katie’s Facebook profile is still up.

And just by looking through her posts, it’s easy to see what a fun loving, spunky and

kind hearted person she was.

Scrolling through her pictures, her love for animals is obvious.

She posted so many photos of dogs and cats, but she posted even more pictures of her friends.

Dozens of images of her friends camping, eating and just hanging out fill her Facebook photos.

In most murders, everybody’s got a mama, everybody’s got a brother, a dad, a family that cares.

But sometimes you run into an issue where beyond that, you don’t have a lot of people

who are really involved.

In this case, the family’s really involved.

All the friends are really involved.

The business was really involved.

Everyone wanted to help.

Detective Heffner said that in most investigations, detectives quickly start hitting roadblocks.

People who won’t cooperate.

But with Katie’s murder, everyone investigators could track down just wanted to help.

I think that’s what made this case such a big newsworthy case, is you have so many people

who cared about Katie, who liked Katie, who wanted to solve this crime.

And it’s not always that way in a murder.

Despite Katie’s friends, family and co-workers trying to help in any way they could, the

Investigation was going nowhere just a few weeks after her murder.

Police had no eyewitnesses and very little physical evidence.

All they really had to work with was some low quality surveillance footage and a community

that was longing to see Katie’s murderer brought to justice.

Days turned into weeks, weeks to months, and there was little movement in her case.

Police continued to investigate, but they didn’t even know if they were looking for

one assailant or two.

I mean, there could have been a driver and a separate shooter.

Despite the lack of evidence, detectives did their best to keep the case moving.

They continued looking at the surveillance footage, trying to piece it all together to

see if they could perhaps get a better angle of the car from maybe another camera.

And for months, the footage was really the only evidence they had.

That is until 2017, when police caught a major break in the case.

And this is a development that police haven’t shared with the public at all.

That is until now.

In May of 2017, roughly seven months after Katie’s murder, police conducted an unrelated

traffic stop in Charlotte.

While searching the suspect’s car, police made an alarming discovery.

In the trunk of the car was a handgun.

After bringing it into evidence and doing ballistics testing, police realized that this

wasn’t just any gun.

It was the gun used to kill Katie Jones in October of 2016.

And I know what you’re thinking.

They’ve got the killer now.

I mean, if the murder weapon was found in a person’s car, doesn’t that person automatically

become the prime suspect?

Well, in this case, the truth isn’t as clear cut as that.

According to Detective Hefner, this gun had been stolen in July of 2016 during a car break-in.

That was three months before Katie was killed.

From that point on, it was used as a street gun or a quote-unquote dirty gun, meaning

that it was passed around from person to person.

What this means for investigators is that it’s virtually impossible to determine the

whereabouts of the gun from the time it was taken until the time it was recovered.

Putting that gun in someone’s hands thus far has not been possible.

We’ve not been able to figure out whose hands it was in at the time Katie was killed.

To further frustrate the investigation, since the gun had been passed around so many times,

getting any fingerprints or DNA off the weapon was beyond the realm of possibility.

Now, it might sound like this was a dead end since they couldn’t prove who had possession

of the gun at the time of the murder.

But this discovery actually proved to be a valuable clue.

The fact that the murder weapon was a street gun agreed with the narrative that this was

an attempted robbery gone wrong.

This gun told police that Katie’s killer likely was not someone who wanted her dead.

It wasn’t someone who may have had an axe to grind with her and happened to know her

route that she was taking home every day.

Although recovering the murder weapon certainly gave police a clearer vision of the motive

behind Katie’s murder, Detective Hefner said this simply wasn’t the piece of the puzzle

that they needed to solve the case.

Right now, if you’ve ever put together a big jigsaw puzzle, you always want the edge pieces.

This isn’t an edge piece.

This isn’t giving me much more.

This is a big, solid area in the middle of the puzzle, but this is not the edges.

I can’t get the crime to connect right now.

After the gun was found in 2017, things slowed down with the investigation.

Tips slowly stopped coming in, and investigators still had very little to work with.

As time dragged on, investigators continued exploring every avenue they could to get more


But with every passing day that no new witnesses came forward and no new evidence came in,

the case kept getting colder, and it went on like this for two years.

By December 12th of 2019, the murder of Katie Jones officially became a cold case, and it

was passed from CMPD’s homicide squad to the cold case unit.

And that’s when cold case detectives decided to explore an avenue that they hadn’t looked

at yet.

They began the process of obtaining cell phone location records.

Not Katie’s cell phone records.

Police wanted to get records for everyone who was in a one block radius of Katie’s murder

on October 15th, 2016, within a 30 minute time block of when she was killed.

They thought that maybe if they could find out what cell phones were being used at the

crime scene when Katie was shot, then it might lead them to her killer.

But Detective Hefner said that records like that are not an easy thing to get a hold of.

I mean, it’s one thing to obtain that kind of data for one person, but to get that information

for an entire block of people was going to be a challenge and potentially controversial.

Detective Hefner explained that obtaining cell phone location records is a big privacy

issue, and judges are often hesitant about greenlighting a search like that that infringes

on people’s privacy expectations.

Regardless, investigators petitioned the court to grant a search warrant, and eventually

the judge did just that.

Detective Hefner said that to keep people’s privacy in mind, they just asked for the hard

data, basically just phone numbers that were active in that area during the murder.

No names.

And the judge granted the search warrants for police to obtain the app data from various

providers for that timeframe within the one block radius.

This was huge for investigators, and it gave detectives a lot of hope that they could be

one step closer to solving Katie’s murder.

This data would show police anyone who was in the area of Katie’s murder who was using

their phone at the time she was killed.

So after requesting the app data from the providers, investigators eagerly awaited the


But their hopefulness was short-lived.

Police received the data of the people who were in the area and accessing their phones

at the time of the murder, but it didn’t show the results they were anticipating.

It came back zero.

Goose egg.

We had no one.

Does it mean no one was there?

No, it means no one was accessing this app data, like using their Google Maps or getting

on Facebook or getting into Google Chat or whatever was out there.

They’re not using their device during that time.

So we hit dead ends and we kind of tucked our tail and left it alone.

Investigators were discouraged.

Here, they had a cold case that was recent enough to use modern technology to aid in

the investigation, and they were still coming up short.

So they went back to square one.

They decided to re-examine the surveillance footage from the area where Katie was killed.

Investigators took the videos that they had in their possession and lined up the footage

based on the time codes.

But here’s the thing.

It quickly became apparent that the footage didn’t quite line up with real time.

The traffic driving through each shot didn’t match up from camera to camera, which meant

that the time codes on some of the cameras were off, not by much, maybe a couple of minutes,

but certainly enough to make a difference in the investigation.

After this discovery, detectives slowly and painstakingly went through all of the footage

they had and lined it all up, tracking cars through the videos to line up the videos perfectly

instead of relying solely on the time codes.

Now once they had all this footage lined up, they saw something that they hadn’t seen


Throughout these videos, they kept seeing the same car over and over again.

It almost seemed like the car was driving in circles, but this wasn’t just any car.

It appeared to be the suspect’s car.

Police think they know why that sedan was driving around in circles that night in the

Plaza Midwood neighborhood, and it wasn’t because the driver was lost.

We’ve got people leaving bars, leaving restaurants, cash in their pocket, intoxicated, not in

position to defend themselves well.

Our gut feeling is that this is someone looking for a victim to rob.

That’s what our gut feeling is.

Detective Hefner thinks that the driver was out looking for a victim, but he said that

robberies turned murders are extremely uncommon.

A robbery murder, and when I say that I mean a true victim robbery murder, meaning a victim

doing nothing wrong, not participating in any illegal activity, and getting robbed while

they’re out minding their own business is very rare.

It happens, but it is rare.

It’s even more rare in Charlotte, where the homicide rate is notably lower than cities

of comparable sizes.

In fact, murder of any kind is almost unheard of in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood.

Sure, there were robberies, car break-ins, and criminal activity of that nature, but

according to a 2016 article in the Charlotte Observer, the last homicide in that neighborhood

had happened in 2013.

There are some doubters of the theory that Katie’s murder was an attempted robbery.

I mean, if someone had intended to rob Katie, why didn’t they end up taking anything?

As I mentioned earlier, Katie did have $300 cash in her purse that her attacker just left

there, but Detective Hefner said that this is something he’s seen before.

I would tell you there’s been other cases I’ve worked where the full intent was to rob

someone and a gunshot went off or there was a shooting that occurred and they actually

took nothing.

The suspect took nothing from the victim because of that.

Now the police had the surveillance footage lined up, they decided to take another stab

in the dark.

They used the footage they had strung together of the suspect car and put together a narrative.

Using this, they asked the court to grant another search warrant for more cell phone

This time covering a larger area in a smaller timeframe.

A judge granted the order for police to obtain the location data for a 10-minute period in

a three-block radius of where Katie was killed.

Hopeful once again, detectives requested location data from the providers.

Once they served the warrant, police had to wait and wait.

This data search was also completely anonymized, Detective Hefner said, meaning that the information

detectives received didn’t say the names of who owned the devices.

It just said where the devices were within that three-block radius, how many times they

were being accessed, and if they were moving around.

And Detective Hefner said that this data is extremely accurate.

The location data is so precise that it can reliably pinpoint whether a person is inside

of a building or if they’re on the street just outside of the building.

Once investigators received the data they requested, they saw several devices in the

area within that 10-minute window.

And knowing what they knew about the suspect’s car driving around in circles before the murder,

detectives were able to eliminate any devices that were stagnant during those few minutes.

They were looking for devices that were on the move.

This narrowed down their suspect numbers to a very small list.

The next step was for detectives to request location data for those devices for an hour

before the murder and an hour after.

But just when things were looking up, their hopes were dashed again.

Once they received that information, investigators were able to eliminate every one of those

devices based on what they knew about the whereabouts of the suspect’s car.

It was another dead end.

So what do we have at the end of it?

Whoever was in this car, all it tells us is either they didn’t have a phone that was on,

or they didn’t have a phone that was a smartphone, or they didn’t have a smartphone that was

using these particular apps that we were asking for.

Is it, is that something we usually hit a home run with?


We just didn’t on this one.

So it’s tough.

It’s really tough because that was our, that was our big hope.

And with that, police seem to have exhausted all leads that they thought could potentially

lead them to Katie’s killer.

Since 2021, there’s been very little movement in Katie’s case, but Detective Heffner has

yet to give up hope.

He thinks it’s only a matter of time before the truth comes out.

Someone’s going to get hemmed up in a crime eventually, and they’re going to need some


They’re going to need some help.

And they’re going to reach out to us looking for their information, their knowledge of

this case or this gun to help them out of the problem they’re in.

And that’s what we count on.

Detective Heffner said Katie Jones’s case is one investigators lose sleep over.

They’ve done everything they know to find answers and get to the bottom of her murder,

but they keep coming up empty.

To clear this case would be huge.

To clear this case would be huge, particularly because we have done everything that we know

to do.

You know, you make a list in your mind of all the possible things you can do to clear

a case and you hope that you clear it on the number two thing on the list or the number

three thing on the list.

But when you go through the long list of items and you run out of items and there’s nothing,

no closure in the case, you know, it’s tough.

It’d be really huge to clear this.

In an interview with True Crying Daily, Katie’s mom said that she longs for justice for her


She said, quote, I want answers.

I want justice for her.

She doesn’t deserve to go into death not being known what happened to her.

Her story is not finished.

It needs to be finished.

End quote.

Katie’s friends and family have grieved long enough.

If you know who killed Katie Jones or you think you might have any kind of information

about her murder or the suspect’s car, you’re asked to call the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police

Department at 704-336-7600.

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