Hawkinsville Teen Charged in Missing Student's Murder

9:11 AM, May 13, 2013   |    comments
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by Bernie O'Donnell, 13WMAZ.com


- Robert Kane Rolison, 17, has been arrested for the murder of Jmaal Keyes.

- Keyes had been missing since April 25 from the MGSC-Cochran campus. His body has not been found.

- Rolison was enrolled in classes in high school and at MGSC.

A Hawkinsville teenager is charged with murdering Jmaal Keyes, the Middle Georgia State College student who went missing from his Cochran campus April 25.

A school news release says 17-year-old Robert Kane Rolison was arrested Thursday night and is now in the Bleckley County jail.

Oconee District Attorney Tim Vaughn told 13WMAZ that Rolison made his first appearance in Magistrate Court Sunday, and was denied bond.  His case will go to Superior Court.

The release does not describe the killing or the motive.

It calls Rolison a dual-enrolled high school/Middle Georgia State student.

Keyes, a 19-year-old freshman, disappeared two weeks ago from campus.

EARLIER | 19-Year-Old MGSC Student Still Missing

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Shawn Douglas, campus police chief, also declined to describe the death further.

In a phone conversation, he told 13WMAZ that Jmaal Keyes' body has not yet been found.

Douglas said Keyes and Rolison apparently knew each other as campus classmates, but their relationship beyond that is unclear.

He said investigators did not find any calls between the two on their cell phones.

He said they're still investigating the case and have "a long road ahead." Douglas hopes to have more information to release within a few days.

On Friday, after receiving tips, officials began searching for Keyes' body in the Ocmulgee River at the Uchee Shoals Boat Landing in Hawkinsville along with the Pulaski County Fire Department and Sheriff's office.

MGSC Interim President John Black released a statement late Thursday:

"We are absolutely devastated by this news. There just are no words to describe how deeply hurt we are and how terrible we feel for Jmaal's family. I wish to convey my heartfelt condolences to everyone in his family, and everyone who knew Jmaal. We ask everyone in the Middle Georgia community to keep this family in their thoughts and prayers in the days and weeks to come. We will cooperate in every way to help law enforcement authorities complete their investigation."

On Wednesday, a group of about 20 people from his family's Austell church searched the campus and surrounding neighborhoods for Keyes.

The continuing search in the river and nearby woods was limited because of high water levels, and rain in the forecast could impact the search over the next few days.

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