In March of 1980, Cheryl Jones was eating at a naval base commissary in New Orleans when she was approached by a woman with a camera. 

The woman said she was a photographer for a magazine that was doing a beautiful baby contest, and she wanted to submit pictures of Jones and her 10-week-old daughter. Jones agreed. 

A few days later, the woman returned, claiming Jones and her baby had won the contest. And she asked Jones to come with her to collect her prize. 

Sixteen hours later, Jones was dead. 

For years, Jones' death was ruled a suicide until detectives in Alabama noticed some similarities to another homicide. And now, Jones' daughter — Amanda Bell, of Auburn — is looking to keep her alleged killer behind bars. 

According to Bell, the woman with the camera was Jackie Schut, who was convicted of murdering a woman and kidnapping her infant son in Athens, Alabama, in 1987. That case, Bell said, was eerily similar to her own. 

"The more people dig, the more bizarre it gets, and it gets to the point where it's almost hard to believe," she said. 

The day after Jones was told she had won the contest, maids discovered her body in a Houston hotel. Jones' baby, Bell, had also been kidnapped, but was returned to her father unharmed. 

"What was happening is Jackie was kidnapping these babies to sell them," Bell said. "The financial transaction to purchase me had actually already occurred ... but at the last minute, someone handed me to a cab driver with $20 and asked that he return me to my father. By the grace of God, he did." 

Schut's husband, Harold Schut, was ultimately convicted of murdering Jones in Texas in 1988. But Jackie Schut was never prosecuted. 

"(Harold) confessed to the crime in a hypothetical manner," Bell said. "He did implicate (Jackie) and admitted she helped him, but she was never charged." 

Both Harold and Jackie Schut were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison for the very similar crimes. Now, 30 years later, Jackie Schut has become eligible for parole. 

Jackie Schut has never admitted her involvement in any of the crimes, including a child prostitution ring in Washington. That is why Bell said it has become so important for her to fight Schut's parole. 

"I couldn't sit back when there is the potential that she will be released," she said.

Since learning of Schut's parole hearing, Bell has collected more than 1,200 signatures in an online petition to keep Schut in prison. She said she plans to attend the hearing in Alabama on Aug. 29. 

"I want these people to see my face and hear my voice and know that I'm a person and that this deeply affected me," Bell said. "I basically feel like it's my duty to give my mother the voice she never had." 

Staff writer Megan Blarr can be reached at (315) 282-2282 or megan.blarr@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @CitizenBlarr. 

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