DNA testing confirms that human remains found last week outside a cabin in Pulaski County are that of missing a college student and Austell resident Jmaal Keyes, the GBI announced Friday.
The remains were collected a week ago on Cabero Road in an area adjacent to suspect Robert Kane Rolison’s Hawkinsville residence.
“The identification of Keyes was obtained through DNA parentage testing with Keyes’ biological parents,” said GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang.
Rolison, 17, who attended Middle Georgia State College with Keyes, was charged last Thursday with the 19-year-old’s murder.
“This brings to a tragic end the search for one of our own, and it closes a painful chapter in the history of our college,” MGSC President John Black said in a statement. “The Middle Georgia State family is heartsick that what began as a missing person case did not end with Jmaal returning alive and well to his family and friends.”
Keyes’ parents had prepared for the worst, deciding to move forward with a memorial service on Saturday even before the remains were positively identified.
“They’re devastated, disappointed,” said Jmaal’s pastor, Wilbur Purvis, of Destiny World Church in Austell.
Investigators have yet to identify how Rolison is alleged to have killed the criminal justice major, or why.
Keyes was last seen April 25 leaving his dormitory on the the Middle Georgia campus in Cochran. Rolison was dual-enrolled at MGSC — where he apparently became acquainted with Keyes — and a local high school.
The original murder charge against Rolison, filed in Bleckley County, was dropped and re-filed in Pulaski County, where the remains were found, Lang said.
The suspect is being held in the Pulaski jail. No date has been set for Rolison’s bond hearing.