A 58-year-old man who police said confessed to killing his ex-wife made his first appearance in court Tuesday morning, a week after he and his ex-wife were reported missing.
Jeffrey Mackey (pictured below in booking photo) was arrested Monday by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on a murder charge in the death of 48-year-old Kimberly Mackey (pictured at bottom of story), who was last seen May 26 at her home on Suni Pines Boulevard on the Southside.
Investigators said they found the body of the mother-of-two in a gully in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.
Police said a neighbor saw Jeffrey Mackey loading what appeared to be a blanket with a body into his car. They said Mackey drove 1,100 miles across five states with Kimberly Mackey's body and buried her in Missouri.
"I have a lot of mixed feelings going through my heart and my mind right now. Some of it's just anger and some of it, I feel pity for him,” said Jesse Rodriguez, Kimberly Mackey’s brother.
The mother of two was last seen on Memorial Day at their home off Suni Pines Boulevard on the Southside and police believed she was in danger. Police said Mackey killed her, then drove 1,100 miles with her body in the car, eventually dumping it.
Rodriguez said that's hard for him to accept.
"It makes me feel disgusted. How can someone do something so cruel to somebody so sweet and innocent?” he said.
Police interviewed Mackey in Missouri. They said he told them he last saw his ex-wife leaving their mobile home Monday on a motorcycle with an unknown man. But detectives interviewed him a second time when they learned he was back in Florida at a St. Augustine hotel. They said Mackey confessed to killing her in their Southside home after an argument and burying her body in Missouri.
As hard as this is for Kimberly Mackey's brother, he said he is leaving it in God's hands.
"I don't wish any bad punishment on him. God's going to serve him his," Rodriguez said. "God forgives and so can I."
Police said the couple had been divorced for several years and had two adult children, who live out of state.
Rodriguez said he had no reason to think Mackey would ever hurt his sister.
"He was not that type of guy," Rodriguez said. "It wasn't an abusive or violent guy. He was a loving and caring man, to be honest."
"Unfortunately, we do not always know what people are going to do. And we can't always predict when violence is going to happen," said Ellen Siler, of the Hubbard House, a domestic violence center and shelter. "Most of the people who are losing their lives now have not called the police, has not sought help from an agency. And so we didn't have the opportunity to intervene before the homicide happened."
There were nearly 7-thousand domestic violence incidents reported last year in Duval County alone, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. But Siler points to studies that show only one out of three actual cases is ever reported.
She said there are usually 10-12 people who lose their lives in Jacksonville each year because of it. Last year, the number decreased to seven, but Siler said one is too many.
"Really the riskiest time is usually when you have made the decision to leave until a divorce is final," she said. "But every once in a while we see a tragedy where the homicide happens long after the divorce."
Rodriguez said he hopes his sister's death is a lesson for people to keep an eye out.
"Everybody thinks everything is OK and everybody just closes their eyes to matters like this," he said. "It is always swept under the carpet. I think everybody should raise awareness and be aware at any given time that no matter if they're married or not married, whether they have been separated or whatever, something needs to be done."
A funeral service is still being planned in Michigan, where Kimberly Mackey's family lives.
Anyone woman being threatened or abused by a man in her life can get help by calling Hubbard House's 24-hour hotline at 800-500-1119, 904-354-3114 or visiting HubbardHouse.org.