The grandson of a high-ranking Camden, N.J. city official was found dead in a garage late Tuesday, two days after he was abducted during a BBQ run.
Police ruled that Curtis Jenkins III, 20, died of homicide by asphyxiation and said that he was the victim of a "calculated plot to entrap and abduct" him. WPVI-TV, citing court documents, reported that Jenkins had a plastic bag over his head and had been shot at least once.
Jenkins, whose grandfather is Camden City Council President Curtis Jenkins, worked at the city clerk's office but also ran a BBQ food delivery service on the side. He was making a delivery Sunday night when his parents discovered he was missing.
On Monday, according to Jenkins' father, the kidnappers sent a photo of the younger Jenkins tied up. Jenkins' parents also received a phone call from an alleged kidnapper demanding 10 to 15 pounds of marijuana as ransom. Jenkins' father reported the ransom to the police, leading to the arrest of Brandon Beverly, 32, of Westville, N.J. within hours.
Police initially charged Beverly with kidnapping and aggravated assault but upgraded those charges to first-degree murder Wednesday. Camden County Police Chief Scott Thomson said Beverly faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted "because it [the murder] was done in the act of a kidnapping."
According to WPVI, family members believe that Jenkins was lured to a false address, where he was then kidnapped, but police have not confirmed the theory.
"Somebody ordered food that he had cooked. Somebody placed an order and asked for delivery. And when he got there, it was like a false address," said Jenkins' aunt, Lynette Jenkins.
"I am appalled by the news of the senseless murder of Curtis Jenkins III, a young man who was continuing his family's tradition of bringing positive change to Camden," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphey said in a statement. "Tammy and I send our deepest condolences to the entire Jenkins family - including his grandfather, City Council President Curtis Jenkins, Sr - and everyone who knew and loved him. I encourage anyone with information into this horrible crime to contact the Camden County Police Department. And, I recommit our administration's efforts to helping move the entire City of Camden forward."