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.
A kidnapping and ransom demand led to the shooting and death of the grandson of Camden's City Council President, according to investigators.
The ordeal began late Sunday in Camden, New Jersey. Curtis Jenkins III, 20, and another person were delivering food to a home on the 2700 block of North Congress Road around 11 p.m. Jenkins, who worked at the Camden city clerk's office, operated a BBQ food delivery service on the side, according to his family.
As Jenkins walked toward the home, a group of men attacked him and forced him into a van. They then tied him up and blindfolded him while driving through the streets of Camden.
The other person who was with Jenkins during the delivery left about 45 minutes later after he never returned to the vehicle. That person then called police around 2:15 a.m. Monday to report that Jenkins was missing.
Meanwhile one of the kidnappers, who police identified as Brandon Beverly, 32, of Westville, New Jersey, texted Jenkins' father, Curtis Jenkins II. The message was a photo of Jenkins bound and blindfolded. Beverly also allegedly called the family, telling them he was holding Jenkins hostage and wouldn't release him until they gave him 10 to 15 pounds of marijuana as ransom.
After more unsuccessful attempts to contact Jenkins family and demand a ransom, Beverly became frustrated, according to the criminal complaint. He then allegedly shot Jenkins and then left him in the garage of an abandoned home on the 1100 block of Liberty Street in Camden.
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Investigators detailed in the criminal complaint how they managed to find both Beverly and Jenkins's body. They first spoke with a family member who recognized Beverly's voice when he made the ransom demand, investigators said. They also identified the owner of the phone Beverly allegedly used. That person told police two gunmen had stolen the phone from him and a friend early Monday morning.
After speaking with the witness and viewing surveillance video, police traveled to Beverly's home in Woodbury, New Jersey, on Tuesday and took another witness into custody for an interview.
The witness told police Beverly and an unidentified woman set Jenkins III up by ordering a platter of food from him and providing the address where he was eventually kidnapped. Beverly was crying when he explained to the witness what happened, saying that "things got messed up," according to the criminal complaint.
Beverly was arrested Tuesday and charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault in connection to Jenkins's disappearance. Police later found Jenkins' body wrapped in a sheet inside the garage of the home on Liberty Street Tuesday night. He was pronounced dead at 10:10 p.m. The medical examiner determined he died from asphyxia and his death was ruled a homicide.
Beverly's charges were later upgraded to first-degree murder.
Investigators said Jenkins and Beverly knew each other though they didn't reveal the nature of their relationship.
Jenkins's father described him as a "very intelligent man, kind, caring, no violence."
"This is a shock to everybody," his father said.
Family members told NBC10 they were planning a trip this holiday weekend and Jenkins III was working Sunday night to make enough money to pay for a hotel room.
"Never ever would I expect this to knock on our door. Something this cruel," Jenkins' aunt, Lisa Robinson, said. "For someone like Curt, no one who's ever been in any kind of trouble, for someone to want to do this is really, really hard."
Police didn't rule out that other people could be charged. They focused their investigation on the abandoned home on Liberty Street Wednesday morning. New Jersey State Police helped in the search for clues.
Beverly is due in court for a preliminary hearing on Friday. It is unclear if he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Correction (July 3, 2019, 7 a.m.): This story has been updated to clarify that Jenkins III is the grandson of Camden's council president.