What to Know
The body of Curtis Jenkins III was discovered Tuesday night in an abandoned Camden building, a day after he was reported missing.
Hours before the victim's body was found, Brandon Beverly was arrested in connection to his disappearance and charged with murder.
Jenkins III is the grandson of Camden City Council President Curtis Jenkins. Someone demanded ransom for Jenkins III's safe return.
The man accused of killing a Camden City Councilman’s grandson is now facing first-degree murder charges after initially being charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault.
Brandon Beverly, 32, of Westville, New Jersey, is accused of luring 20-year-old Curtis Jenkins III, kidnapping him, demanding a ransom from Jenkins’ well known-family and then shooting Jenkins when his relatives did not comply.
Jenkins is the grandson of Camden City Council President Curtis Jenkins Sr.
“Never, ever would I expect this to knock on our door, something so cruel,” Lisa Robinson, Jenkins’ aunt, said. “It’s really, really hard.”
Officials are still piecing together details of Jenkins’ final moments after he was found dead, with hands and feet bound, in a Camden garage Tuesday.
On Sunday, at around 11 p.m., Jenkins and one other person delivered food to a home in the 2700 block of North Congress Road, according to court records.
Relatives said Jenkins worked at the city clerk’s office, but operated a BBQ food delivery service on the side. He was hoping to raise enough money to pay for his share of an upcoming family vacation.
But this particular delivery order was just a ruse to lure Jenkins to the home, where a group of men attacked him, forced him into a van and then blindfolded him, prosecutors said.
At around 4 a.m. Monday, Jenkins’ relatives received a call from an unknown number, they told police. The caller allegedly demanded 10 to 15 pounds of cannabis in exchange for returning Jenkins. A text message was then sent showing a picture of Jenkins tied up and blindfolded.
A family member later identified the voice as belonging to Beverly, according to court records. Police said the cell phones used to contact Jenkins’ relatives had previously been stolen.
The kidnappers repeatedly reached out to Jenkins’ family following their initial call, prosecutors said. As time passed, Beverly became agitated and shot Jenkins, according to investigators.
When police interrogated Beverly, he admitted to knowing Jenkins before kidnapping him. Beverly cried and said “things got messed up,” according to prosecutors.
After shooting Jenkins, Beverly left him in the garage of an abandoned home on the 1100 block of Liberty Street in Camden. Jenkins was wrapped in a sheet, his hands and feet bound together, with a plastic bag covering his head.
He died from asphyxia, according to the medical examiner's office.
Jenkins' sudden death rippled throughout the community. Earlier in the week, balloons were released in his honor, and loved ones gathered to remember the 20-year-old.
Jenkins' father described him as a "very intelligent man" who was kind and caring.
"This is a shock to everybody," Curtis Jenkins Jr. said.
The Camden political community also spoke out against the murder.
"Curtis Jenkins III was an enterprising young man who worked to bring about a positive change in his community and devoted himself to the betterment of Camden City," Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli, Jr. said in a statement. "A senseless and tragic event claimed the life of one of Camden’s next generation of leaders."
Police are asking for the public's help in identifying Beverly's accomplices. He is expected to appear in court later this month.