CAMDEN, N.J. — Curtis Jenkins III, the grandson of Camden City Council President Curtis Jenkins Sr., was lured to his death by an assailant who placed a food order, abducted him when he delivered it, then demanded drugs from his family as a ransom payment, according to police and his family.
Jenkins, 20, was last seen Sunday night when he went to make a food delivery on Congress Road, in Camden’s Fairview section. He operated a business selling platter meals on Facebook.
Police discovered Jenkins’ body late Tuesday night at an abandoned garage in the city’s Liberty Park neighborhood, about a block from where Jenkins lived with his father on Mechanic Street. Police have not disclosed the cause of death.
Camden County Metro Police Chief Scott Thomson announced Tuesday that Brandon Beverly, 32, of Westville, faces charges of kidnapping and aggravated assault in the abduction of Jenkins. It was unclear if the two knew each other.
The victim’s father, Curtis Jenkins, Jr., said Wednesday that his girlfriend got a call Monday morning from someone who claimed to have abducted Jenkins. When she passed him the phone, the caller demanded 10 to 15 pounds of marijuana in exchange for Jenkins’ return. Jenkins Jr. said he hung up because he didn’t have the drugs.
After that, he said, someone texted him a photo that depicted his son tied up and blindfolded.
“They never called back,” said Jenkins Sr., the council president.
Authorities said the younger Jenkins was kidnapped in “a calculated plot to entrap” and his abduction was not a random act.
Beverly, who was being held in the Camden County Jail, has had several encounters with law enforcement. In April 2017, Beverly was driving a car stopped by a police officer with the Port Authority of New York, who seized more than 60 pills of Ecstasy, along with marijuana, at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Beverly had a suspended license and outstanding warrants from South Jersey, according to authorities. In 2017 Beverly was charged with violating bail and driving with a suspended license. His passenger, Jessica Stokes, 27, of Woodbury, was charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance.
In 2012, Beverly pleaded guilty to a weapons offense and was sentenced to five years in prison, three years without parole, stemming from an incident in Camden.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy released a statement Wednesday expressing condolences to the Jenkins family. Jenkins Sr. has been a councilman since 2005, and became council president last year.
“I am appalled by the news of the senseless murder of Curtis Jenkins III, a young man who was continuing his family’s tradition of bringing positive change to Camden,” the statement said. “I encourage anyone with information into this horrible crime to contact the Camden County Police Department. And, I recommit our administration’s efforts to helping move the entire City of Camden forward.”
Family members and friends fanned out Tuesday in a desperate search for Jenkins after he was reported missing early Monday morning. A vigil was held in Farnham Park, across from Camden High.
Jenkins and his son visited the scene Wednesday morning. The family planned to gather, grieve and make funeral arrangements, he said.
“I’m hurting big time. This is such a big waste,” Jenkins, Sr. said. “You just never expect it to happen. “Why him?”
There was an outpouring on social media for the younger Jenkins as word of his death quickly spread. A 2017 graduate of Haddon Heights High, Jenkins worked in the Camden County Clerk’s Office and wanted to open a restaurant, his grandfather said.
“Words cannot explain or express the heartbreak felt by so many,” read one Facebook post. “This hurts really bad.”
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