Heather Mae Kelley: Missing Michigan woman's blood found in her burned pickup truck
PORTAGE, MICHIGAN: Heather Mae Kelley's blood has been found inside her burned vehicle after she went missing three months ago. The mother of eight called her children before she disappeared and told them she would be home soon but she never returned. According to the FBI, based on the evidence gathered in the investigation, Kelley may have been a homicide victim.
The 35-year-old Michigan woman was reported missing on December 10 and her family suspects her boyfriend is the person of interest. On the night she went missing, she called her children around 10.20 pm after she left her home in Portage at around 9.00 pm. A day after she disappeared, her cousin found a burned pickup truck in Comstock Township's North Sprinkle Road and East Michigan Avenue, according to Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office, reported WOOD.
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Vehicle found burned after Kelley's disappearance
Inside the vehicle, which was set ablaze, hair and blood were found by investigators who conducted DNA tests and determined that the blood was Kelley's. Investigators were told by Kelley's cousin that a red vehicle was seen speeding off from the place. Around 16 hours earlier, her truck was spotted at the same location where the vehicle was later set ablaze after she was reported missing. The vehicle was reportedly tagged as abandoned, according to NY Post.
Kelley's boyfriend was taken into custody
Four days after Kelley vanished, her boyfriend was arrested and until April 26, the 37-year-old man currently remains on a federal hold and wears a tether. At a halfway house in Kalamazoo Township, the man who had been on parole, is finishing up a sentence by a federal court for a drug conspiracy case in 2010 which also included a murder-for-hire plot.
The burned vehicle was found a couple of miles from the halfway house. On December 11, Kelley's boyfriend left the halfway house, ditching his tether, and went AWOL. He sought an early release as he told a federal judge that he had been facing death threats from her relatives and thereafter, he went AWOL. He claimed that one of Kelley's brothers was "even sending pictures of an AR-15 assault rifle." However, her brother denied the allegation, as reported by WOOD.
A judge rejected his compassionate early release in which he claimed he had to undergo heart surgery. Using the search warrant, investigators went through his Facebook, email, and phone record which led them to conclude that he had been lying to them throughout Kelley's missing probe.
Though her boyfriend claimed he last saw her on December 10 when he was dropped by her at the halfway house. However, the GPS from his tether and phone records showed the pair being at a Kalamazoo dinner club later that night. Later, the phone was turned off and was later tracked near the place where the burned vehicle was discovered and this act of her boyfriend "supports the theory that Heather Kelley has been the victim of a violent crime,” said detectives, according to court documents. The Portage police, the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office, and the FBI are currently seeking help from the public to locate Kelley.
#FBIDetroit, along with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff's Office and the Portage Department of Public Safety in Michigan, is requesting the public's help in locating Heather Mae Kelley. Heather has been missing since December 22, 2022. https://t.co/5hLEg25RWr pic.twitter.com/47rru6v7p4— FBI Detroit (@FBIDetroit) March 7, 2023