What You Didn't Know About Serial Killer Genene Jones

In the late 1980s, the San Antonio area was rocked by an almost unspeakable scandal: A nurse who had worked for multiple hospitals and clinics throughout Texas was allegedly killing her pediatric patients. In many cases, these patients were extremely young — younger than 1 or 2 years of age. The motive was inexplicable, but once everything had been dug up, the method was quite clear. The patients had been injected with an overdose of succinylcholine, a muscle relaxant that in high doses can cause paralysis and seizures, per The Famous People. And all signs seemingly pointed to a single nurse: Genene Jones.

Who was Genene Jones, and where did she come from? More importantly, how did she keep holding down jobs when she always left an apparent trail of dead patients in her wake? Keep reading for a look at all the twisted facts about Jones — including some you probably didn't even know you didn't know.

Genene Jones' brother died from a homemade pipe bomb

Born in 1950, Jones was adopted shortly thereafter, along with three other children, by Dick and Gladys Jones. Genene's childhood wasn't a particularly happy one — Dick was a professional gambler and serial entrepreneur whose businesses frequently went belly-up. He drifted from owning a nightclub to owning a restaurant to owning a billboard business, but could never really get anything to stick, likely because of his reported habit of spending (and/or gambling away) the family's money (via The Famous People). Still, Genene remembered her times with him — particularly the time spent driving around changing billboards — as some of the happiest times of her life. "We just had a ball together," she told Texas Monthly.

The happiness wasn't going to last, though. When she was in high school, Genene's younger brother Travis died when a pipe bomb he had built exploded. Shortly thereafter, Dick and another one of her brothers both died from cancer. In an apparent attempt to relieve her grief (at least according to The Criminal Code), Genene got married right out of high school — by allegedly lying to her sweetheart about being pregnant. Not surprisingly, the marriage didn't last, although it did produce two children (who were mainly raised by Genene's mother Gladys).

Genene Jones purportedly became a nurse because she was attracted to doctors

To help make ends meet, Genene Jones initially took a job at the beauty salon inside San Antonio Methodist Hospital. The pay wasn't great, though, and — perhaps more importantly — she found herself extremely attracted to the doctors (via The Famous People). The solution to both problems turned out to be the same thing: getting herself certified as a licensed vocational nurse, or LVN. (LVNs are not typically licensed to do as many things as registered nurses, or RNs.)

Jones achieved her initial goal of getting herself hired as a nurse at Methodist, but the gig proved to be short-lived. She quickly became notorious for disobeying doctors' orders, giving the wrong medication to patients, skipping out on mandatory training, and treating patients rudely. (It probably also didn't help that she allegedly bragged about her many sexual affairs, per The Criminal Code.) Given her reported behavior, Methodist probably should have been her first and last job in the medical — unfortunately for her patients, it proved to be only the beginning.

She was a pro at inserting IV lines

Genene Jones' first lasting gig was at the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Bexar County Medical Center Hospital, where her reputation among her coworkers hadn't greatly improved. Jones continued to be known for "playing doctor" and being excessively belligerent with her colleagues. The 3 p.m.to 11 p.m. shift — Jones' shift — at the hospital became known among her colleagues as the "Death Shift" due to the inexplicable number of patient deaths — even among those with nonfatal conditions. Coworkers routinely sought transfers away from the PICU and the shift, in order to avoid Jones (via The Famous People).

If you're wondering how Jones managed to hold down the job despite all the deaths and negative feedback from coworkers, it was because — despite everything — she managed to continually impress the higher-ups. Even with her frequently questionable attitude, Jones had physical skills that were peerless — notably the insertion of intravenous (IV) needles. IV needles are notoriously difficult to insert, even with adult patients, but Jones quickly developed a reputation as the only nurse in her unit who could nail it every time, including with the ridiculously narrow veins of infants. "She could stick an IV in a freaking fly," one doctor told Texas Monthly.

She would sing to dead bodies

If physical competence got Genene Jones the job, it was her apparent empathy for patients that helped her to keep it. Despite the shockingly high rate of deaths under her watch, Jones managed to keep suspicion off herself by being deeply affected — or at least appearing so — by every single patient death. According to Dr. Debbie Rasch (quoted in Texas Monthly), it wasn't unheard of to see Genene crying at the end of her shifts, asking "Why do babies always die when I'm around?"

The reason, of course, was that Jones was allegedly poisoning them, but for a long time, no one suspected it — Genene had the uncanny ability to make her terrible outcomes look a lot like clairvoyance (or at least perceptiveness). "If Genene says something's going to go wrong, then it usually does," Kathleen Holland, one of the residents at Bexar, once told another.

Even if Jones' demeanor with patients left something to be desired, she managed to impress Bexar's ICU director with the way she would handle the bodies after her patients died. She was known for holding them and singing long after they had breathed their last — and often even for hand-delivering them to the morgue herself. The motivation was likely to avoid too much scrutiny over the state of the corpses (reportedly, she was once observed snatching an infant's body away from his older brother and running off with it), but for a long time, no one suspected anything (via The Criminal Code).

Genene Jones' supervising physician was her landlord

Still, enough patients died at the Bexar PICU that Jones couldn't avoid scrutiny forever. Rather than investigate or fire Jones, however, the hospital instead mandated that all PICU nurses be RNs (via Sun Signs). While they offered all departing LVNs transfers to new departments, Jones took it as a personal insult and quit. She found new employment with Holland, who had moved to nearby Kerrville to start a pediatric clinic. While other Bexar doctors had warned her not to hire Jones, Holland ignored them, later telling Texas Monthly, "I trusted her implicitly." Holland was so determined to hire Jones that, when Jones couldn't find a place to live in Kerrville, Holland bought a home and rented it to her.

A clinic staffed by Jones and a doctor who "trusted her implicitly" turned out exactly the way you're probably expecting: The ER at the local hospital, which had previously had close to zero pediatric admits (it was a town with a generally older population), was suddenly swarming with them. Patients from Holland's clinic would seize up, get rushed to the ER, and then mysteriously recover once there. Often Holland and Jones would arrive alongside the patients and begin giving orders to the ER doctors — who were reportedly mystified that two women whose patients so often went south would consider themselves so knowledgeable about medicine. It became so insufferable that Holland's admission privileges were revoked, per Texas Monthly.

Most of the evidence of her wrongdoing was supposedly destroyed

With so many skeptical doctors at the local ER, it was only a matter of time before a smoking gun was found. Dr. Frank Bradley, the ER's anesthesiologist, recognized the behavior of one of Holland's admits as the stupor of a patient coming out from under succinylcholine — a muscle relaxer and Jones' new poison of choice. "It just reminded me of what I'd seen in the operating room," he told Texas Monthly. From there the evidence mounted. A bottle of succinylcholine had "mysteriously" disappeared from Holland's storage; Jones "found" it months later, and while it was apparently still full, there were two needle holes in the stopper. Lab tests revealed the bottle to be mostly full of saline (via The Criminal Code). Further, records showed someone other than Holland had ordered yet another bottle of succinylcholine that had never been inventoried.

Local prosecution — who had been on Jones' tail for a while — exhumed the body of one of the children who had died in Holland's care, ran some tests, and found the succinylcholine levels to be through the roof. Based on the evidence, Jones was arrested, tried, and eventually convicted in the deaths of two children. It likely could have been far more, but Bexar — possibly to avoid bad publicity — purportedly shredded numerous records from her time of employment, including several that had been under subpoena.

Female serial killer Genene Jones is currently serving consecutive sentences of 99 and 60 years, and in 2017 was indicted for five more murders (via The Famous People).