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Decomposed body found in Miami Gardens canal confirmed as missing school employee

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - A body found floating in a Miami Gardens canal has been confirmed as a missing mother of two who disappeared from her aunt’s driveway.

Two days after the decomposed body was found, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office verified 41-year-old Kameela Russell as the deceased victim.

The missing Miami Norland Senior High School employee, who was last seen on May 15, suffered a blunt head injury, according to the Medical Examiner’s report.

Detectives arrived to the home of loved ones to deliver the heartbreaking news.

A friend told 7News the family is asking for privacy at this time.

“We just hanging in there as expected,” a man at the home said.

The body was found near Northwest 207th Street and 15th Avenue, just before 5 p.m., Saturday.

Cellphone video showed crews removing the corpse from the canal late Saturday night.

The case has been classified as a homicide.

The body was found less than a block away from where Russell disappeared from the driveway of her aunt’s home, along the 800 block of Northwest 203rd Street.

Police shut down Northwest 203rd Street last Tuesday in hopes of finding Russell and could be seen focusing on the home of a former colleague near 15th Avenue.

One of the men who found the body described how he felt when he saw the decomposed body.

“It was crazy to see just a life, you know, just gone, wasted, just laying there decomposing,” the man said.

Miami-Dade County Public Schools issued a statement on Wednesday morning following the identification of Russell’s body.

“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. All available counseling resources will be deployed to the school immediately to assist students and staff during this extremely difficult time. School district staff and Miami-Dade Schools Police will continue to work with the Miami Gardens Police Department, which has been handling this case since the employee’s disappearance from her home. 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.”

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho also weighed in on the tragic news.

“An unbearably painful week for @MDCPS. We ache for Kameela Russell’s grieving loved ones and pray they find the strength to bear the pain of this heartbreaking loss,” Carvalho wrote on Twitter.

Friends of the victim remember her as a beautiful, happy, positive person and a woman with a huge heart and infectious smile.

If you have any information on this homicide, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.