Conflicting Stories from Husband, Friend on Missing Teacher

Conflicting Stories from Husband, Friend on Missing Teacher

It's been a week since anyone has seen Heather Palumbo-Jones. She was reported missing when she didn't show up to work at Frayser Elementary School. Since her disappearance, rumors have swirled that her estranged husband might have had something to do with it. Now Chris Jones is fighting to clear his name.
MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - It's been a week since anyone has seen Heather Palumbo-Jones. She was reported missing when she didn't show up to work at Frayser Elementary School. Since her disappearance, rumors have swirled that her estranged husband might have had something to do with it. Now Chris Jones is fighting to clear his name.

After our story aired Friday, Chris Jones sought out only ABC 24 News for another interview. He said there's more information the public needs to know.

But in talking to him and talking to his wife's close friend, they tell two very different stories of who the woman is.

"She is a very passionate person, she can go from zero to 90 in the snap of a finger and often does," Chris said.

Jones and his estranged wife, Heather Palumbo-Jones, have been going through a divorce since January.

"November she found him having an affair," stated Heather's friend, Melissa Smith. "I guess she had enough strength and enough with him cheating on her that she said it was time to be done."

He says the pair had an open marriage. "She used the last relationship I was in to say there was infidelity, in fact it was chosen infidelity on both our parts, we were in an open marriage."

Yet, he admits to being the last person police know had contact with her Monday night. He says that night he was confronting her about an affair.

"She was very upset at the point to I couldn't understand between the tears and the alcohol what she was saying," Jones said. "I said, 'I'm sorry, I thought we could find some ground here.' I left, I went home."

"No no no no no no no, no she was not having an affair," Smith refuted.

But the differences don't end there.

According to Jones, "Unfortunately I'm the only one interested in having shared parenting, she wanted to take them and keep them and not share."

Smith countered, "The only thing Heather did was try to keep the peace with Chris, she fixed up his car so he would have a working car, she had her family pay for his apartment."

"She has been ruthless throughout this entire process," Jones maintained. "I was not convinced this was not a game."

Chris Jones admits to being the last person known to see his estranged wife.

"The last time I saw her was going to be maybe a little after 11, 11:15," he said. "We were a little drunk, we were, I was there in a capacity to try to reach some type of understanding outside the legal system."

He says after he left the house, around 1 a.m., his wife sent him a message stating she was leaving and he needed to get their daughter. He said he went back to the home.

"I woke my daughter up, I said, 'Have you seen your mommy? Did your mommy come in here?' She said she had not seen her. So I picked her up and brought her home." At that point he said he didn't call police, "Because I'm not certain still whether or not this is a game," he said.

Smith is the emergency contact for Palumbo-Jones. She was notified when her friend didn't show up to work Tuesday morning.

"In my heart and mind and everything else, he didn't leave, she didn't go anywhere; she would never have gone anywhere, she would never leave [her children]."

Jones says he wasn't nervous because she's left abruptly before in January when she moved out of their home with their two kids, but friends say this is out of character.

For the last week Smith's been helping law enforcement search for any sign of her, hoping for the best, but afraid of the worst.

"Looking through the forest for your friend is about the worst image you can possibly have in your mind and it's going to take a long time for all of us to pull through this."

Police are still searching for Palumbo-Jones. According to police, her credit cards and cell phone have not been used since her disappearance.

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