(VNO — When 20-year-old Damarius Kelly didn’t show up to Thanksgiving dinner in 2014, his family knew he was in trouble.
Damarius, known as ‘Heavy D’, disappeared in the early morning hours of November 26, 2014, in Michigan City, Indiana. The overnight temperatures were in the teens the night he disappeared, leaving his family immediately worried.
Shequitta Kelly, Damarius’ cousin, spoke with our team in November 2014, and insisted he was not the type of young man to go missing without warning.
From her home near Dallas, Texas, Judge Shequitta Kelly told Victims News Online that family members were instantly concerned when her cousin did not show up for a planned Thanksgiving dinner.
“No one has heard from him”, Shequitta told VNO.
Damarius Kelly was reportedly living at his girlfriend’s house with the young woman and her mother, who told VNO in 2014 they hadn’t seen him since early Wednesday morning, the day before he disappeared.
Damiarius’ then-girlfriend, 20-year-old Tamela “Tammy” Ross told Victims News Online in a November 30th, 2014, interview that she thought he was traveling to Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
“He said he wanted to try and join the Jobs Corps up there”, Ross told VNO. “I think he might be trying to catch a bus or get someone we don’t know about to help him get up there”.
His family, however, never believed ‘D’ would have left without telling anyone, and they – along with our team – followed multiple sightings in the 41 days he was missing.
“His sister sent him a wire transfer to help him, and that money was never picked up,” Shequitta Kelly said.
At the time of his disappearance, Damarius Kelly was last seen in the vicinity of East 10th Street in Michigan City, near Petti’s Grocery.
In 2014, Scott Matzke – now the Police Commissioner – was the officer assigned to Kelly’s case at the Michigan City Police Department. VNO spoke with Matzke in 2014 when Damarius was first reported missing, and this is what we were told:
“At this point, other than checking with friends and family, there isn’t much that can be done. The detective will subpoena phone records and back trace his steps. It becomes difficult when people don’t have debit cards and or credit cards. My understanding was that his phone was shut off. The detective will work on getting service restored to his phone to see if they can “ping” it. That is, they send signals to his phone to try and triangulate its whereabouts. It only works if the phone isn’t shut off.”
On the evening of January 6, 2015, a call went out to the MCPD about a body found in an abandoned house on Holliday Street, two blocks from where Damarius was last seen.
VNO was on the phone with police as they responded to the call. An officer on-scene told our team the body belonged to Damarius, and indications pointed to foul play. We immediately asked the officer on-scene if D’s cell phone was there, and were told it was not.
The following day, on January 7th, 2015, VNO conducted a follow-up phone interview with D’s then-girlfriend, Tamela “Tammy” Ross. During that interview, we asked Tammy if she could describe the brand and color of D’s missing cell phone.
That’s when something strange happened.
Ross, who was on speakerphone, asked a man in the background what brand of cell phone Damarius owned. “LG”, was the response our reporter heard from the male voice. Then, we heard this…
“Hang on, I have the phone right here. Yep, it’s an LG”.
Ross immediately told the man in the background, believed to be her brother, to shut up, because she was on the phone with a reporter and D’s cell phone was supposed to be missing.
That conversation was immediately reported to the Michigan City Police Department, but our team never received a call to follow-up. Based on that interview, VNO believes Ross – and her brother – have more information about what happened to Damarius than they were willing to share.
Anyone with information regarding the disappearance of Damarius “Heavy D” Kelly is asked to call the Michigan City Police Department at (219) 874-3221, or Victims News Online at (432) 741-1329. Anonymous tips may also be sent to the #MichiganCityUnsolved Facebook Page, or emailed to: email@example.com.