Agencies disagree over who should investigate Fort Wayne man's death

The body of a Fort Wayne man found in an Ohio river this spring has been returned to the family.

Posted: Aug 27, 2019 9:48 PM
Updated: Aug 28, 2019 11:39 AM

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - Kathryn Mbwelera returned from Ohio with her son's body Tuesday.

"It was a very terrible feeling. It was a sickening feeling that had physical manifestations in my body,"she said.

The Defiance County Sheriff confirmed this week that the body of 26-year-old Jabari Mbwelera was recovered from the Maumee River in May.

ORIGINAL: DEFIANCE COUNTY DEPUTIES ASKING FOR HELP IDENTIFYING BODY

Jabari's mother said her family didn't learn of the discovery until recently, but once they did they immediately knew it was him.

"We never heard about it in May, June, July. It wasn't until this month last week the attorney general and the lieutenant in Defiance said 'Hey we're not getting anywhere on this case, let's put this out there'. As soon as they did, the next day, I was able to call and let them know that was my son," Mbwelera said.

RELATED: AUTHORITIES ID BODY FOUND IN MAUMEE RIVER AS MISSING FORT WAYNE MAN

Jabari was last seen by his family on Jan. 16, which is the same day he was involved in a fight in Fort Wayne.

Before his death he sent a series of text messages to them from the Lassus Handy Dandy on 1630 Spy Run Ave. 

Spy Run is walking distance from the Maumee River – which flows northeast into Ohio.

"We are pretty sure it will turn from being a missing person to a homicide because we are convinced that someone threw our son in The Maumee River, " she explained.

Defiance County Sheriff's investigators said they've turned the case over to Fort Wayne Police, but Fort Wayne Police said all they have is a missing person's report and it should be Defiance County's investigation because that's where the body was found.

Mbwelera said both agencies should be involved.

"I'm going to hold both agencies responsible because the case is not closed. We're still waiting on toxicology reports, all kind of reports," she added.

Defiance County Sheriff's Office was not available for comment Tuesday.

Funeral services will be at Abundant Love Church at 2615 New Haven Ave. Friday at 11 a.m.

His mother said all are welcome.

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