published Saturday, May 11th, 2013

GBI: Evidence found in search for missing student

COCHRAN, Ga. — Authorities searching for the body of a missing Middle Georgia State College student said Saturday they found evidence near the home of a teenager who has been charged with his murder.

Investigators made the discovery near a road not far from where the suspect lives in Hawkinsville, said Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Sherry Lang.

“Some evidence was collected that we feel is relevant to the investigation,” Lang said. “It was not found at his residence, but the search was done off of that road. We’re not going to elaborate right now on what that evidence is.”

Jmaal Malik Keyes, a 19-year-old college freshman from Austell, was last seen on the school’s Cochran campus April 25. Police on Thursday arrested a 17-year-old high school student from nearby Hawkinsville who also took classes at the college as part of a dual-enrollment program. Police charged the teenager as an adult with Keyes’ murder. They do not have Keyes’ body and have not said why they believe he was slain.

The Associated Press has not named the suspect because it does not generally identify juveniles charged with crimes.

Authorities searched sections of the Ocmulgee River on Friday as well as areas in Pulaski and Bleckley counties. Lang said agencies involved in the search were regrouping Saturday to determine where to focus next.

“They’ve had a couple of really long nights, so they’re getting back together and deciding how to proceed,” she said.

Campus police said they have surveillance video that shows Keyes, who did not have a car on the campus, getting into another student’s car, WXIA-TV in Atlanta reported. Officers located that student, who told them he dropped Keyes off in a neighborhood near campus April 25.

That is the last time anyone has reported seeing Keyes. Police said his belongings were untouched in his dorm room.

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