JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The remains of a 24-year-old father who was reported missing in March and was presumed dead were found buried at a Northwest Jacksonville home, police announced Tuesday.
Investigators said Jamel Kelly's remains were exhumed during a search of a property on West Moncrief Road.
Sam Reddick Jr., who lives nearby, said officers told him the body was found in a shallow grave behind the home, which is abandoned.
"We didn't have a clue that anything like that was back there," he said. "It's really sad because we don’t have this kind of stuff out here, you know? It’s a little quiet neighborhood."
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.
Investigators said information led them to search a commercial property on Pritchard Road for evidence connected to Kelly's death, as well as the property on West Moncrief Road, where the remains were located.
"There were so many police cars, police detectives, the crime scene," resident James Brown said of the search last week near his home.
Brown told News4Jax that he knew Kelly and was shocked to learn it was his remains that were found where he saw officers searching.
“I had no clue," he said. "But when you live in the 'hood and you see that red, black and white tape, you got an idea what it is: Somebody is dead.”
Neighbors tell me Police searched behind this abandoned home on West Moncrief rd. all last week. JSO says the Remains of Jamel Kelly were found in this area. The 24 year old had been missing since March. @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/rQ3R5l4DLm — Corley Peel (@WJXT_CorleyPeel) September 25, 2018
Three people, including Kelly's own mother, have been charged in connection with Kelly's murder, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office announced in May.
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.
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 before the car was burned.
Police said information led them to the two properties where they searched for evidence, and they found Kelly's remains, which have been positively identified.
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.
Anyone with information about the individuals involved or who might know more about the investigation can call 1-866-845-TIPS to report that information anonymously to police.
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