FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A day of observance called “Meet Me at the River” was held along the Maumee River on Sunday in Fort Wayne.
It happened where Jabari Mbwelera’s mother, Kathryn Mbwelera, believes her son was thrown into the river before floating 50 miles away to Defiance County, Ohio, where his body was spotted and retrieved.
Three years later things still have not been easy for Jabari’s friends and family. But keeping his spirit alive is what keeps them going.
“I have his picture in the car, and I said Jabari, this is for you,” said Kathryn Mbwelera. “You are not forgotten.”
Dee Campbell is still looking for her missing loved one. Campbell’s grandson Kevin Nguyen went missing in December of 2018 at the age of 25, just one month before Jabari. Now, she shows up for families dealing with their own losses.
“By interacting with JAVA, they have been so kind as to take me under their wing,” said Campbell. “My support is for who has pain of a loved one because I know pain as well. So for the families that have missing people, family members that have never found them, I understand their pain.”
JAVA has helped many families grieve through their pain and continue to be there for them, such as Jabari’s and Kevin’s.
“JAVA is making a difference, it’s helping these families with their pain and helping them with the questions and help find answers. There is no better group to join than JAVA,” said Campbell.
Both women say they will never give up on their search for answers as they mourn their lost loved ones.
“To the ones still looking for their loved ones still, don’t give up. I know the hole is deep in your heart, don’t give up. Because they need to be found, they need to come home, you need answers,” Campbell said.
For Kathryn Mbwelera, her heart aches more than she likes to say, with no answers on her son’s murder.
“My heart grieves every day,” said Mbwelera. “Actually, my doctor told me I suffer from broken heart syndrome.”
WANE 15 has reached out to both Fort Wayne and Defiance County Police Departments on Mbwelera’s investigation and which department will continue it.
A spokesperson for FWPD tells WANE 15 during their initial investigation Jabari Mbwelera was considered a missing person and during the investigation, the FWPD found was evidence that showed Mbwelera was leaving his house with luggage.
“There is no evidence that a crime was committed in Fort Wayne,” said Sgt. Jeremy Webb. “The State where the body was found, is the primary investigative agency. Death investigations take place where the body is found.”
Webb added that any information that FWPD had regarding the missing person case, was shared with the authorities in Ohio.