A mourning mother is seeking answers after finding out Monday that an unidentified John Doe was her son. Back in May, Jabari Mbwelera of Fort Wayne, was found dead in the Maumee River in Defiance County, Ohio.
His mother Kathryn Mbwelera is devastated, but now that she’s found her 27-year-old son, she has many questions she wants answered.
“Jabari was a very smart young man and a professional,” she said. “He loved to work. He was a very good singer, very exuberant and he loved family and he loved his friends.”
Jabari got his audio production degree from the Illinois Institute of Art and dreamed of being a singer. He once opened for famous R&B singer John Legend.
He was reported missing on January 23, 2019 after no one heard from him for a few days.
“We were very close and there is no way he would not call unless he was not able to call,” Kathryn said. “So we knew something was wrong.”
Jabari was last seen on a surveillance camera outside of his Fort Wayne home getting into someone’s car.
On May 24, his body was pulled from the Maumee River in Defiance County, Ohio.
He had no personal items on him. Investigators could not figure out who he was, but hoped his tattoos would help identify him.
After his family saw pictures of the tattoos in August, they knew it was their Jabari. His mother Kathryn wants to know what happened.
“Me and his father are convinced that he was thrown in the Maumee river, but for what reason we don’t know,” she said. “The investigation continues. It’s not over.”
She believes her son was killed in the Maumee in Fort Wayne and that his body floated to Defiance County. She has offered a $5,000 reward to anyone with critical information.
“Money motivates people,” she said. “It’s awfully strange that that person who’s car he got into never came forward. So if he didn’t come forward, the question is why not.”
Investigators continue their work on the case, while she prepares to bury her son on Friday.
“I am physically sick, but I’m holding on and hanging on,” she said. “I just want to lay my son to rest.”
Jabari’s funeral is this Friday at Abundant Love Church at 11 a.m. The community is welcome to attend.