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UPDATE (9/15): Authorities announced that, after “an exhaustive search for defendant Bell” he was arrested in Staten Island with assistance from the New York Police Department.
FRANKLIN, NJ—Authorities are offering $2,000 in reward money for anyone who can provide “information leading to the whereabouts and arrest of Isaiah J. Bell,” according to a statement released by the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office (SCPO).
Bell, a 21-year-old man who also goes by the nickname “Ike,” is wanted in connection with the September 5 slaying of James Kargbo, who died following an altercation with Bell in the area of Coventry Lane and Westminster Road.
Authorities said Bell is described as being 6’ 1” tall, weighing 160 pounds, and having brown eyes and brown hair.
“During the altercation Mr. Kargbo sustained injuries which would prove to be fatal,” read each of the three statements from the SCPO.
Police say that Bell fled from the area in a “4 door sedan” and claim to have recovered it. But Kargbo was not as fortunate.
“Mr. Kargbo, entered his vehicle which his 6 year old son was sitting in, and attempted to drive onto Route 27. Mr. Kargbo’s vehicle left the roadway and crashed into a nearby medical building,” read the official statements.
Apparently, the crash took place on the North Brunswick side of Route 27, in Middlesex County. However, the SCPO is handling the case because the altercation that proved to be fatal took place in Franklin.
It’s at least the second killing this year to take place near the border between Franklin Township and Middlesex County. On April 9, Franklin police shot and killed Diahlo Grant after chasing him across the county line into New Brunswick.
Authorities say they learned of the crash at about 11:23am. Around the same time, Franklin Township Police recieved a 9-1-1 call reporting “shots fired” close proximity to the crash, leading some sources to erroneously report that Kargbo was killed in a shooting.
Police found Kargbo “bleeding profusely” and arranged for him to be transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
“The 6 year old was not injured in the crash and was released to a family member,” reads the SCPO statement.
The New Jersey Northern Regional Medical Examiner’s Office in Newark determined the death to be a homicide and Bell was charged with first-degree murder the day after the altercation, September 6.
Acting Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson announced on September 13 that Crime Stoppers of Somerset County, Inc. had increased the reward offerred in this case from $1,000 to $2,000.
Bell’s “last known address” is on Brooks Boulevard in Manville, according to the SCPO.
Tipsters interested in collecting the reward must call the Somerset County Crime Stoppers’ Tip Line at 1-888- 577-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.888577tips.org.
The SCPO says that all anonymous Crime Stopper tips will be kept confidential.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate, a community organizer, and a former independent candidate for mayor of New Brunswick.