KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Over one year after Kalamazoo County mother of eight Heather Kelley disappeared, her boyfriend, Carlos Watts Jr., has been charged with murder.
If convicted, Watts Jr. could spend the rest of his life behind bars without parole, according to Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting Wednesday. He is due for sentencing Friday.
Watts Jr. has been the main person of interest in the investigation since Kelley first disappeared Dec. 10, 2022.
He was reportedly with Kelley before she went missing.
Two days later on Dec. 12, 2022, Watts. Jr was seen on surveillance video cutting off his GPS tether at the Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program, or KPEP, before running away from the facility.
In the trial brief, prosecutors said they believe he ran away before he “thought” he was a suspect in Kelley’s murder.
However, Watts Jr. told police he ran because he was scared that Kelley’s brother was going to kill him, sending death threats, including a picture of an AR-15 assault rifle, according to federal court documents.
Her body has never been found, despite over a year of searching around Kalamazoo County.
She was last seen leaving her Kalamazoo County home around 9 p.m., according to police.
In a phone call nearly an hour later, she told her kids she would be home shortly – but never returned.
Officers found her burnt car near East Michigan Avenue and North Sprinkle Road.
Kelley’s blood, hair and other signs of violence were found inside, Kalamazoo County Sheriff Richard Fuller said.
Silent Observer is offering a reward up to $5,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to Kelley’s whereabouts, according to the sheriff’s office.