Ten days after she was reported missing by her aunt on May 15, mother and school official Kameela Russell was found dead in a Florida canal. Now, a suspect has been named in her murder.
Ernest Joseph Roberts, an assistant principal who worked at the same school as Russell, has been charged with her death. Roberts was a suspect early on in the case after Miami Gardens police detectives received several anonymous tips that he was involved. He had known Russell for over two decades and was reportedly the godfather to her children.
A handwritten note to a school janitor was the biggest clue that he had something to do with Russell’s disappearance and subsequent murder. The note appears to be a frantic attempt to dispose of the woman’s car.
“Do you know anyone that can chop up a car? If so or make it ‘disappear’ take these keys,” Roberts’ note read, according to the warrant. “Its behind the speedway racetrack on 441 by County line. Friends are gone and need it to disappear. If not leave it + I’ll work it out later. THROW THIS NOTE AWAY!”
This lead to an exhaustive investigation that turned up DNA blood evidence, surveillance footage, and phone records, an arrest warrant released on Friday indicates.
The 39-year-old assistant principal was booked into a Miami-Dade jail on Friday afternoon (June 14). Roberts faces a first-degree murder charge as law enforcement claims they’ve recovered Kameela Russell’s car, keys and the note, which was hidden by Roberts in a school file cabinet five days after the alleged murder.
According to the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Russell, 41, died of a blunt force head injury and her death was ruled a homicide, reported local ABC affiliate WPLG.
A 16-year-old boy in Miami Gardens found her body Saturday May 25. She was wearing the same gray leggings she had on the day she went missing.
Online records confirm her date of death is listed as May 25.
Russell was last seen by her aunt Donna Blyden, who was watching Russell’s daughters the day she disappeared. According to Blyden, Russell’s car pulled into her driveway to pick up her girls, but she never made it inside.
When Blyden looked back outside, Russell was gone.
Russell was a mother of two and a testing coordinator at Miami Norland Senior High School, where students and faculty are mourning her loss.