Kidnapper Sent Photo of Tied up Victim, Demanded Marijuana Ransom Before Murder, Police Say

By Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
July 4, 2019 Updated: July 4, 2019

A New Jersey man has been charged with murder and kidnapping in the death of a 20-year-old, who was abducted and killed after the criminal sent his family a photo of the victim demanding “10 to 15 pounds of marijuana,” police said.

Curtis Jenkins III, the grandson of Camden’s council president, Curtis Jenkins Sr., left his home at around 11 p.m. on June 30 to deliver food. But when he failed to return, his family filed a missing report in the early hours of the following day.

Shortly after the report was made at around 4 a.m. on Monday, his family was contacted by a man who demanded drugs after sending them a photo of Jenkins III blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back, according to police, reported NJ.

“The text message displayed a photo of Curtis Jenkins (III) restrained and blindfolded in an unknown location,” police detailed in a probable cause statement submitted in court.

The man demanded 10 to 15 pounds of marijuana, police wrote in the document.

The 20-year-old was found dead by detectives at around 10:10 p.m. on July 2 at a property in Liberty Street, Camden, with his limbs bound, wrapped in a sheet, and a plastic sack over his head, reported NJ.

Just hours earlier, police arrested 32-year-old Woodbury man Brandon Beverly, and he was charged with kidnapping and aggravated assault. In the afternoon of July 3, authorities announced they had added a felony murder charge.

According to authorities, Jenkins III and Beverly were “not unfamiliar” to each other, and his family had recognized his voice on the phone.

A second probable cause affidavit released July 3 said someone was with Jenkins III as he made his late night food delivery, but because he had been in the property for about 45 minutes, the individual decided to leave.

According to NJ’s report, a witness and someone familiar with the suspect told officials that Beverly and another woman placed a food order from Jenkins III, but were waiting for him to arrive so that they could force him into a van.

The affidavit reads, “Curtis Jenkins III was bound, blind-folded, and was driven throughout the streets of Camden.”

Speaking to CBS3, the victim’s father Jenkins Jr. said: “He cooks and sells food. It was a setup. Someone gave him a false address.”

Beverly allegedly told the witness he decided to shoot Jenkins after getting frustrated with failing to get a ransom from his family.

The victim’s father told the Philadelphia Inquirer he hung up the phone when he heard the drug demand.

“It’s something I never had. It’s something I don’t have, so it’s kind of scary,” he told the outlet.

But Bill Townsend, chief of detectives at the county prosecutor’s office, told reporters on July 3 that an autopsy determined the sole cause of the 20-year-old’s death was asphyxiation, also known as suffocation.

“It’s not real to me. That’s what’s going through my head,” Jenkins Jr. told CBS3.

He would have had his 21st birthday on Sunday, Jenkins Jr. said, according to the Inquirer.

“My son never even been into a fist fight. He was a real caring kid. Caring, loving, always happy. Never bothered nobody. Everybody loved my son.”

The attack was described as a “calculated plot to entrap and abduct the victim” by Chief Scott Thomson.

The motive behind the attack has not been revealed as the incident is still under investigation, Townsend told reporters.

Beverly is set to make a court appearance on July 5 for a detention hearing before Judge Edward McBride, and if found guilty, he faces a mandatory life sentence in prison.

Beverly’s previous run-ins with the law include a five-year prison sentence in 2012 after he pleaded guilty to a weapons offense, as well as a bail jumping charge in 2017, according to the Inquirer.

The Camden County Police Department urged individuals with further information related to the incident to contact its tip line at 856-757-7042 or to get in touch using the StopIt App.

Isabel van Brugen
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist and currently a news reporter at The Epoch Times. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.