After an exhaustive search for a teacher and mother of two who recently went missing in Miami, a body was found floating in a canal.
On Thursday, medical examiners confirmed that a body that was pulled from the Miami Gardens Canal is that of 41-year-old Kameela Russell. They also revealed that Russell’s death was caused by blunt head trauma. Police have not released information about how long her body had been floating in the canal, but reports say that she was discovered thanks to an anonymous tip.
“Knowing her and the type of person she was, I just don’t understand it. I don’t understand it at all,” Russell’s mother, Linda, said.
The beloved mother, who left behind 15 and 6-year-old daughters, was last seen on May 15 when she arrived at her aunt’s house to pick up her youngest child. Her aunt, Donna Blyden, said she saw her niece pull up in her black Audi A6, but then she suddenly disappeared.
“I looked out the window, and knew I saw Kameela’s car in the driveway,” Blyden said just days after Russell’s disappearance. “When I look again, I didn’t see the car. So I text her and say, ‘Where are you? I know you were in the driveway just now, and now you’re not here. Where are you?’ I didn’t get an answer.”
Russell was a native of the Bahamian island New Providence but had moved to Florida where she worked as a teacher and test chair for Miami Norland Senior High School. Her students spoke highly of her and were saddened to hear of her untimely death.
“She was always so giving and she was nice to students,” Mormare Jones, a 10th grader at Norland said of Russell. “I was flabbergasted when I heard about this. I wouldn’t have thought that something so horrible would happen to someone so good.”
Russell clearly loved her students as indicated in her last Instagram post where she humorously demanded that students at Walter C Young provide her an invitation to their 2019 graduation.
“Love you, mean it, bye,” she finally said.
Linda, who has been taking care of Russell’s children since she disappeared, is calling on the community to share any information they have about what may have happened to her daughter with the authorities.
“We were all crying last night. The older one — the 15-year-old — was like, ‘Can we all sleep in the same room tonight?'” Linda said. “If anybody saw her that day or saw where she went or saw if anyone was following her, you know, somebody must have seen something or heard something, and I’m just hoping that someone would speak up.”
Residents in the neighborhood where Russell’s aunt lives told CBS Miami that there had been a lot of police activity at a house just up the street. The house is known to have been occupied by a mother and son, and is also located near the canal where Russell’s body was found. Though the police have been tight-lipped about whether or not the police activity was related to the case, residents claim that the mother and son had not been seen in a while.
If you have any information or saw something that may help solve the murder of Russell, please call the Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477). There’s a reward of up to $3,000.