Pinellas Trail suspect's family says he's innocent

Clearwater, Florida -- 10 News is digging deeper trying to get answers for thousands of people that use the Pinellas Trail each month. That's after a Dunedin High School senior was arrested, accused of robbing and murdering a woman along the Trail.

The woman's body was found Saturday just west of the Pinellas Trail between Fairmont Street and Harbor Drive in Clearwater.

With tears streaming down her face Dewayne Jones' cousin, Joye Nix, says she cannot believe the student, nicknamed D.J., is charged with murder.

"D.J. is not that type of child. D.J. is not that troubled teen that's headed for destruction that's not him...he's caring he's lovable," she says.

She says as a family they urged him to turn over the wallet he said he found along the trail.

Nix says they immediately recognized that the picture identification in the wallet belonged to 41-year-old Lydia Tross from our news coverage.

"Taking him to turn in the wallet was the right thing to do."

Nix says she drove her cousin to law enforcement headquarters, but had no idea her cousin would be charged with first degree murder.

Tross was reported missing a week ago Tuesday after leaving her boyfriend's apartment and walking along the trail as the sun was going down. Her nude body was found four days later. An arrest affidavit says Dewayne confronted her, attacked her, stole her purse and ripped her clothing off leaving her with injuries on her neck and throat in a ditch near the trail. Investigators are not sure whether she was sexually assaulted.

READ:Dewayne Jones' arrest affidavit (PDF)

Nix adds, "The only thing we can do is pray and come together and our hearts go out to her -- to her family."

Joye says D.J. is a good student with a bright future ahead of him and while the family believes he knows who's responsible they say he didn't do it. They believe police need to search for three other people in the case that they say committed the crime.

"D.J. would not harm nobody. We do not believe that D.J. did this."

VIDEO: Interview with cousin of Pinellas Trail murder suspect

Last month, Dewayne was arrested by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on drug charges. He was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine as well as obstructing or resisting an officer without violence. He was released on bond two days later.

While Dewayne's mother and cousin didn't want to comment on that, a spokesman for Clearwater Police, Rob Shaw, said, "I've heard nothing about three additional suspects, however, we will continue to check out all leads and options as we continue to investigate the case."

Anyone with information in the Tross slaying should call police at 727-562-4242 or email

SEE ALSO: Safety ramping up after body found near Pinellas Trail


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