A Georgia family is desperate for any information that may help them in locating their missing loved one, last seen on Superbowl Sunday. A press release on the disappearance of Erika Renee Johnson Kelly places her last known whereabouts in East Atlanta, Georgia and states that she was wearing green denim pants at the time.
Kelly’s mother, Constancia Arriba, spoke to ESSENCE by phone and described her daughter as someone who “had her happy moments” but noted that she was currently dealing with prolonged mental issues. Kelly was staying with her mother throughout a period of financial instability and caring for her 7-year-old daughter whom she shares with her estranged husband, Rashard Kelly.
Mr. Kelly filed a police report on Monday, Feb. 3, after he says his wife, with whom he was separated from, never came back to her mother’s house where he was also staying at the time. In the police report obtained by ESSENCE, Mr. Kelly describes the 37-year-old mom as someone who was depressed, and who had turned secretive as of late.
According to the account he shared with Arriba about the day Erika Kelly went missing, Mr. Kelly took their young daughter out for the afternoon, and upon returning to the home around 9 p.m., Mrs. Kelly did not respond to knocks on the door to let them in. After standing outside for roughly 30 minutes, Mr. Kelly called Arriba and asked for permission to break the window to the back door to get inside the house. Kelly feared that his wife may have fallen down, passed out or worse. Instead, he did not find Erika inside.
Arriba shared that both Mr. and Mrs. Kelly were staying in her Decatur, Georgia home while she was away in California, though her daughter did have apprehensions about her estranged husband cohabitating with her. Arriba notes that her son-in-law “sometimes was aggressive with his behavior”, so she just didn’t want him in the same house.
“She told me she would leave, she would leave and go find shelter or something, but we just have not heard from her since,” Arriba explained. The concerned mother said she has contacted shelters, hospitals, and mental health facilities in hopes of receiving any intel on where her daughter may be. She has also sought help from The Center for Truth and Healing, a nonprofit organization in Stone Mountain, Georgia, the DeKalb County police, and other Atlanta-area departments.
In a statement to ESSENCE, a spokeswoman for the DeKalb County Police Department said:
“The DeKalb County Police Department takes all missing person cases seriously. Since Mr. Rashard Kelly filed a report on February 3, 2020, investigators have been diligently working to locate Ms. Erika Kelly. To obtain additional leads, several interviews have been conducted with friends and family members, to include checking local area hospitals. Despite our efforts, Ms. Kelly has not been located, and until all leads are exhausted, we will continue to search for her.”
Despite the absence of any relevant leads, Arriba, and her younger daughter continue to look for Erika in places they think she may have visited. “They have this area called Atlanta Village, which is always crowded, people hang out a lot,” Arriba shared. “So we went there, we passed out some flyers about a week ago and we do want to make more flyers and some postcards to get out too because we didn’t get a chance to put them in other locations.”
Arriba also said that her son-in-law, who is now taking care of her 7-year-old granddaughter, has shared information on his Facebook page to help locate his missing wife. “At least three people, they really believed that they saw her somewhere in the Atlanta area,” Arriba claims. “So I’m really hoping, we’re just hoping for the best, that she’s still alive.”
Erika Kelly is described by her mom as approximately 5’5 in height and 140 lbs. The police report filed by Rashard Kelly lists her as 108 lbs. with blonde hair. Officials ask anyone with information about the disappearance of Ms. Erika Kelly to please contact the DeKalb County Police Department’s Special Victim’s Unit at 770-724-7710.
“It’s really something that keeps me waking up and I can’t go back to sleep because of this,” said Arriba. “I’m just hoping she either comes back to my house, or someone finds her.”
Attempts to reach Mr. Kelly were unsuccessful.