Jacksonville police say man's mom helped cover up his murder

24-year-old's ex-stepfather charged with killing him, torching car

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 24-year-old man who was reported missing in March is now believed to be dead, and three people, including his own mother, have been charged in connection with his murder, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced Friday.

Jamel Kelly was last seen alive on March 6 outside his mother's home on Langford Street off U.S. 1 near the Nassau-Duval County line, according to police.

Assistant Chief Scott Dingee said Kelly's girlfriend and mother were among those who reported on March 6 that he had been chased from the home by "suspicious individuals" in the neighborhood and had not returned. But police found no evidence of a crime at the time.

Several days later, an ex-girlfriend said Kelly still had not been seen and had not posted on social media, which was out of character for him.

The missing persons unit was brought in and soon found evidence to suggest Kelly was dead, Dingee said.

The homicide unit was called, and investigators have since learned that Kelly lived with his mother and was having domestic issues with her. Dingee said they believe Kelly's mother, Stacey Studemire, 43, called her ex-husband, Gerod Studemire, 38, to come to the Langford Street home to confront Kelly (pictured right).

During the confrontation, Gerod Studemire and three other people chased Kelly from the home, and somewhere down the street behind houses in a wooded area he was killed, according to investigators. They have not said how Kelly might have died.

Police believe Kelly's body was then put in the trunk of Gerod Studemire's Lincoln Continental and dumped somewhere before the car was burned. When firefighters put out the car fire, no body was found, Dingee said.

Police were not called to the fire and the car has since been moved. Neither the car nor Kelly's body have been found.

Gerod Studemire has been charged with murder and tampering with evidence in Kelly's death, and Stacey Studemire and Shaakira Atwater, 35, have been charged as accessories after the fact. Atwater is one of Gerod Studemire's girlfriends, according to police.

“His own mother took direct actions to cover up this crime after the fact,” Dingee said.

Dingee said it's likely other individuals were involved in the crime and the cover up.

Anyone with information about the individuals involved or who might know where the burned car is can call 1-866-845-TIPS to report that information anonymously to police.

About the Authors:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.

A Jacksonville native and proud University of North Florida alum, Francine Frazier has been with News4Jax since 2014 after spending nine years at The Florida Times-Union.