MISSING PERSON CASE DETERMINED TO BE HOMICIDE
Updated February 8, 2023
The case of a missing Kalamazoo County woman has turned into a homicide investigation, according to Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller.
A person of interest, who knew missing Heather Kelley, has been taken into custody, but has not been fully cooperating with authorities, Fuller said during a news conference Wednesday.
The 35-year-old mother of eight was last seen alive leaving a Comstock gas station Dec. 10, 2022. Evidence showed Kelley and the person of interest were together before and after the Portage mother was reported missing, Fuller said.
Detectives found Kelley's burned out vehicle abandoned near East Michigan Avenue and North Sprinkle Road Dec. 11., according to investigators. The vehicle was set on fire and Kelley's blood and other signs of violence were found inside, Fuller said.
One or more individuals are also involved in the investigation, Fuller said. They have been identified, but are not in custody. “We know that it's likely someone helped with the burning of the vehicle and the possible destruction of other evidence, and that a person or people are also a person of interest in this investigation,” Fuller said. Kelley's clothing was also found in the area not too far from her vehicle, according to Fuller. DNA has also been collected and is being processed, he said Wednesday.
Kelley left her home Dec. 10 around 9 p.m., talked to her kids on the phone nearly a hour later, and was never heard from again, according to her family.
The FBI got involved in the investigation in December, Ellis said. Dive teams and Michigan State Police helicopters have searched a marsh area near Sprinkle Road several times.
The person of interest in the case remains in custody after he was taken into custody on unrelated charges days after Kelley's disappearance.
Kalamazoo Silent Observer is offering a cash reward UP TO $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person(s) involved in this incident. You are asked to call Silent Observer at (269) 343-2100, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office at (269) 383-8748 or the Portage Dept. of Public Safety at (269) 329-4567 with any information. Tips can also be submitted through this website or the free app: P3Tips.
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