LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A teenager who witnessed her brother’s murder said Thursday the child welfare system failed them.

Paul Jones, 39 murdered his son Aaron Jones in 2017, buried his body and lied about the child’s whereabouts for months. Jones continued to cash the child’s social security checks, according to Las Vegas Metro police.

Ariona Jones attended her father’s sentencing on Thursday and provided a victim impact statement.

“Now that Aaron is gone, I don’t want to live anymore, but I have to live for Aaron,” Ariona Jones said. “He would want me to for the life he couldn’t live.”

“Paul made me clean up Aaron’s blood and it hurt me so much,” she said.

The body of Aaron Jones, 13, was found in April of 2017 in a desert area near Boulder Highway and Sahara Avenue. (KLAS)

Clark County District Court Judge Tierra Jones sentenced Paul Jones to life with the possibility of parole after more than 24 years served.

The body of Aaron Jones, 13, was found in April of 2017 in a desert area near Boulder Highway and Sahara Avenue. Paul Jones hit his son and the child fell to the floor and hit his head. Jones then placed the child in the shower and when he still was not breathing, Jones buried his body, according to a sentencing memorandum submitted by the defense and prepared by a licensed psychologist.

Paul Jones claimed this happened in February of 2017. Aaron Jones was not reported missing until two months later.

“The dad never let us know that he was missing,” Andrea Whitlock, a cousin of the children, told the 8 News Now Investigators. “We would call and check on him but there’s nothing that we could do. We couldn’t do anything.”

Family members later revealed that Aaron Jones suffered extensive long-term abuse at the hands of his father. This included making the child stand against a wall with his arms over his head, beating him, forcing Aaron to remain in soiled clothes, encouraging other children to taunt Aaron and not allowing Aaron to eat or to sleep for days. This occurred in a one-bedroom apartment with at least 10 other children, according to records.

Aaron and Ariona Jones were removed from their mother’s care and placed with their father by the child welfare system. This was while Paul Jones was on probation for child abuse after he was arrested the prior year for abusing his stepdaughter. The child claimed that Jones beat her with a cable.

Dijonay Thomas, the children’s mother, told the 8 News Now Investigators that the children were removed from her care because she could no longer take medication for mental health needs due to a pregnancy.

Paul Jones appears in court via video for his sentencing on Feb. 16, 2023. (KLAS)

Paul Jones had no prior relationship with the children before they were placed with him in June of 2016, according to Thomas.

A court document states he was awarded custody by Child Protective Services.

“He should have never even had him to begin with,” Whitlock said. “If Paul didn’t want him, he should have gave him back. He should have just gave him back because he was very much wanted. We loved, loved, loved this baby, you know. He was a bright and shining star in our family.”

Thomas filed a lawsuit against Paul Jones along with Clark County, CPS and several employees. She alleges that CPS did not do a background check on Jones and never visited the two children after they were placed with him.

Ariona Jones told the 8 News Now Investigators that child welfare workers never checked on the children.

“I feel like it could have been Child Haven. They could have checked on us but they didn’t. They failed at their job,” Ariona Jones said.

“They failed Aaron in the most horrific way. They failed him,” Whitlock said. “They failed the family and they failed us.”

On Thursday before he was sentenced, Jones tried to withdraw his guilty plea. Judge Jones denied his request and pointed out that the issue was previously explored.

Jones pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and two felony counts of child abuse, neglect, and endangerment, according to court documents filed last September.

The 8 News Now Investigators reached out to Clark County. Spokesman Erik Pappa provided the following statement: “While DFS cases are confidential, DFS takes all child fatalities very seriously, and DFS has a quality review process in place for all fatalities.”

A day after the 8 News Now Investigators’ story first aired Thursday, Clark County sent the following additional statement:

“In the child welfare system, when DFS brings a case before a judge to decide whether or not to remove a child or to place the child back in the home, a judge has to balance the constraints of the law with the competing priorities placed before them with each case.

Following DFS’s review of this case, the County advocated for the Nevada Legislature to change the law as it relates to the policies in place for how a case was closed. Through this law change, new policies have been put in place to help CPS workers better understand the history of cases such as why and how a previous investigation may have been closed to help inform the full picture of a new investigation going forward.”