Body found in canal confirmed as high school staffer and mother of two

The woman found in a Miami Gardens canal has been confirmed as Miami Norland Senior High School test administrator Kameela Russell.

An automated phone call from the school Wednesday morning told Norland High parents of Russell’s death.

Darren Caprara, the Miami-Dade County medical examiner’s director of operations, told the Miami Herald that Miami Gardens police, the lead investigating agency, confirmed via fingerprints that the body found Saturday down the street from where she was last seen is Russell, a 41-year-old mother of two.

Caprara said an autopsy done over the weekend identified blunt head injury as the cause of death.

In a statement, Miami-Dade County Public Schools spokeswoman Daisy Gonzalez-Diego said counseling resources would be deployed to assist students and staff at Norland High. The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department is assisting Miami Gardens police with their investigation.

“Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) is deeply saddened about the painful and shocking news involving the passing of a Miami Norland Senior High School teacher,” she wrote. “The entire M-DCPS family is heartbroken. We ask that the community join us as we keep Kameela Russell’s loved ones in our prayers.”

Russell’s unexplained disappearance sparked concern among her colleagues and rumors in the surrounding community of Miami Gardens. Authorities have remained tight-lipped about releasing information about the investigation.

Russell was last seen by family leaving the 800 block of Northwest 203rd Street, about a few miles from the school. The body was spotted on Saturday afternoon by an anonymous tipster a short distance from there in a canal along the 1500 block of Northwest 203rd Street. That’s also across the street from the listed residence of a former colleague.

While no suspects had been named, two sources told the Miami Herald that detectives late last week searched the home of the former colleague. A search warrant was served last Thursday night, while the man was out of town.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.