JACKSONVILLE. Fla. — The search has ended for missing 8-year-old Ja’Rell Lewis, and he has been found safe.
An Amber Alert was issued for the boy around 2:30 p.m. Friday. Officials said he was in the company of Terrell Lewis, and he was last seen in the 2600 block of University Boulevard North.
Action News Jax first reported Friday morning when police responded to a triple murder at the same address.
“It’s scary at first until you get out there and find out it’s way worse than what you want it to be,” Tina Penn said.
Penn wants answers after she said three of her cousins were gunned down in their own home.
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Police said officers responded to River City Landing Apartments around 7:30 a.m. to find three adults who were shot and killed.
Penn said they were a brother and their two sisters.
“They all got killed for no reason if you ask me,” Penn said.
Penn identified them as Johnisha, Jumonica, and Jordan Williams.
She said Terrell Lewis also lived at the apartment with her cousins.
The victim’s uncle said he’s caused trouble before.
Court records show Lewis was in a relationship with Johnisha and they share a son, Ja’Rell.
Action News Jax investigated Lewis’s criminal record and found three prior domestic battery arrests, in 2008, 2012, and 2016.
The 2016 charges were dropped, but Johnisha filed a restraining order against Lewis. In it, she stated he had anger issues, bipolar disorder, and was addicted to ecstasy pills.
However, in 2018, Johnisha wrote a letter to the court stating Lewis was a changed man. The restraining order was lifted in 2019.
As far as the family knows, he was currently living in the apartment.
“He should have never been around this long if you ask us,” Penn said.
An Amber Alert was issued for Ja’Rell hours after the shootings.
Our law and safety expert Dale Carson said the delay in the alert may have been because police thought they knew where the boy was earlier.
“So, in that event, you don’t want to put out an Amber Alert. You want the individual to feel comfortable where they are so they stay there until a team can get there to rescue the child,” Carson said.
They ultimately did issue the alert, and a little more than an hour later, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported Ja’Rell was found with Lewis.
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With a history of domestic battery, a criminal paper trail, and a restraining order issued against Lewis, Carson said police likely will be looking at him as a potential suspect in the triple murder.
“He may be facing a number of murder charges, more important than kidnapping. Our only hope is that he was driven by love for the child, to protect the child as opposed to anger at the child,” Carson said.
JSO has not confirmed if Lewis is a person of interest in the murder case.
We are waiting to see if Lewis is booked in the jail in connection with the abduction
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