Mother of Miami Gardens teacher remains ‘shocked’ after daughter killed, dumped in canal

Former assistant principal Ernest Roberts accused of killing Kameela Russell in 2019

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Kameela Russell was a beloved teacher at Miami Norland Senior High School.

Investigators said the mother of two went missing for ten days, before she was found dead floating in a canal.

After a teenager found her body in the banks of a canal on May 18, 2019, the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Office determined a blunt force head injury caused the death of the 41-year-old mother of two.

Linda Russell, Kameela Russell’s mother, told Local 10 News that the loss of her daughter and only child still consumes her.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked (and) I couldn’t understand,” she said.

Police were led to former Miami Norland Senior High School Assistant Principal Ernest Joseph Roberts, the godfather to Kameela’s oldest daughter and co-worker.

Russell, who was a test proctor at Miami Norland Senior High School, was a longtime friend of Roberts’ and they even worked together until February when Roberts was transferred to another school.

Russell’s body was found floating in a canal on May 25 near Roberts’ home in Miami Gardens.

Police said surveillance video shows her driving up to Roberts’ house and walking inside.

Authorities said Roberts was later seen coming out of the home alone and driving away in Russell’s car.

Linda Russell told Local 10 News that her daughter knew Roberts since she was 10 years old.

“When they said he was a suspect, I (couldn’t) believe it,” she said.

Detectives said Roberts tried to cover up his crimes by seeking help from another employee.

Authorities also said they received tips from several employees that Roberts may be involved.

For Linda Russell, as her daughter’s death approaches four years, she still wants to know why this happened.

“I am trying to wrap around my head--I don’t understand,” she said.

While Roberts is facing charges of second-degree murder, the charge may become a first-degree murder charge once the case goes in front of a grand jury.

A hearing for the case is expected to begin on Monday.

A trial date has not been set.

About the Author:

Bridgette Matter joined the Local 10 News team as a reporter in July 2021. Before moving to South Florida, she began her career in South Bend, Indiana and spent six years in Jacksonville as a reporter and weekend anchor.