When Ashley Connelly was a new mother, there was only one person she trusted to babysit her three children: Tiffany Jones.
The friends met about seven years ago in Brooklyn, where they lived together until Connelly moved out last year.
“Tiffany was the very first person to watch my newborn,” Connelly, 32, said. “She was the only person I trusted with my children.”
Firefighters found the body of Jones, a 29-year-old mother of two, on Wednesday, a day after she was abducted in South Baltimore’s Brooklyn neighborhood.
Connelly, 32, was among more than a dozen friends, family and neighbors who turned out to a crime scene Wednesday at the 3400 block of 7th Street, where Jones’ body was found in a burning house.
The blaze occurred less than a mile from where Jones was taken.
Police and fire officials initially did not confirm the identity of the victim, but later said the body found was Jones.
Homicide and arson detectives are investigating the incident.
Police said Jones was in the 3600 block of Potee St., where she got into an argument with two men at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. The men then forced her into a black Ford pickup truck and drove away. The truck’s Maryland tags read 3DH8861, according to police.
Concerned friends and family of Jones, as well as nearby neighbors who did not know her, came to the crime scene on 7th Street Wednesday morning. Several people said officials would not confirm at the time whether Jones was the person found in the burned house, but they worried it was her.
Evelyn Jones drove to Brooklyn from Glen Burnie when she heard about Tiffany’s abduction and the fire. Evelyn, who is not related to Tiffany, said she has family in the neighborhood and got to know Tiffany about six years ago.
“I treated her like a child. She was old enough to be my daughter,” she said. “One day she was walking and we stopped and got to talking and whatnot, and I’ve been like an auntie to her ever since. She calls me auntie.”
She displayed a black key chain embroidered in hot pink with the phrase “wild thing.” Tiffany bought it for her, she said, plus a matching one for herself that read, “sweet thing.” It was fitting — Evelyn Jones said Tiffany was a “really sweet young lady.”
“It’s really a tragedy,” she said.
Jones worried about Tiffany’s children, son Trent and daughter Tamara “Teetee.”
Connelly said Teetee was Jones’ best friend, and it was rare to see Jones without her and her partner Tim Jones.
“She was a good person,” Tim Jones said.
Jones worked at Berger’s Bakery in Lexington Market decorating cakes.
“She was a good worker, a good decorator,” owner Fannie Houvarda said.
And she was proud of her Native American heritage and involved with the Baltimore American Indian Center, Connelly said.
“She was a likable person,” Connelly said. “I don’t know anybody that didn’t like her.”