College student charged with murder in disappearance of local teen

Updated:

MACON, Ga. - The search for a missing 19-year-old college student has intensified after police have charged someone in his death.

Jmaal Keyes disappeared last month while attending Middle Georgia State College south of Macon.

Police have arrested a fellow student, Robert Kane Rolison, 17, and charged him with murder.

Investigators with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have been scanning the Ocmulgee River in Pulaski County all day Friday, looking for Keyes.

Investigators told Channel 2's Carl Willis they have searched the area around four different boat landings looking for clues.

"Looking at all of the areas that you can get to with public access and then we've got an aviation unit looking in the areas that are difficult to access," said Todd Lowery, Special Agent in Charge with the GBI.

Willis went to Rolison's home Friday and spoke with a man who identified himself as the suspect's father, but did not give his name.

"I appreciate you coming out here and asking but this is a family matter," the father told Willis.

The father didn't say much more only to say that he loves his son.

Willis found out Rolison was dually enrolled at Middle Georgia State College and Hawkinsville High School. He also played football and was involved in 4-H.

Police would only say that Rolison knew Keyes from campus and at this time, there's still no motive.

"We're going to continue to do interviews and follow leads and as those leads move us along, we're going to keep trying to resolve this. We're not going to give up," Lowery told Willis.

Investigators said the water level may be keeping investigators from dragging the river and they used a helicopter to fly over areas they couldn't access by boat.

So far, this is still no sign of Keyes.

Meanwhile in Cobb County, friends and family are shocked by the news of Keyes' death.

Keyes was a graduate of Hiram High School in Cobb County. His friends describe him as a happy-go-lucky person.

His friends at the school and his former principal told Channel 2's Liz Artz they can't imagine him making an enemy, much less someone who would want to kill him.

In a school of about 1,600 students, Principal Jason Freeman said Keyes wasn't one to go unnoticed.

"(He) would speak to you in the hallway every day and flash that big smile at you. Real outgoing personality," Freeman said describing Keyes.

Keyes graduated from Hiram High last year. Former classmate Brittany Venable said Friday was a tough day with news of his death.

"Everybody has been sad, it's been all around, been crying this morning," Venable told Artz. "I can't imagine somebody wanting to hurt him or anything happening where someone could become so angry they did hurt him."

Keyes' family was too distraught to talk to the media, but the teen's pastor at Destiny World Church was with his mom when she got the news. He said the mother's faith is still intact.

Venable said Keyes' friends have taken to social media to honor him.

"There has been a lot of post on Instagram where everybody has been praying for his family's sad," Venable said.

Keye's was very involved with the junior ROTC program. His pastor told Artz that Keyes wanted to follow in his brother footsteps and go into criminal justice.


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