- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

ANGOLA, Ind. (AP) - Eight years’ work by an Indiana State Police detective brought to conclusion a murder case that rattled the Steuben County community.

When he became a detective in 2005, Officer Kevin Smith took on a notorious cold case - the Aug. 9, 1989, stabbing death of Todd Kelley, 19, in rural Hamilton. Mahfuz Huq was the immediate suspect.

Huq’s disappearance the day of the crime left the Kelleys struggling for answers. The family offered rewards and hired private investigators, said Todd’s sister Shannon Kelley. They agreed to relive the story on national television programs “America’s Most Wanted” and “Unsolved Mysteries” as a “hail Mary that to get your face out there, we’d bring you to justice,” Shannon told Huq Monday from the witness stand in Steuben Superior Court.

Huq, 47, admitted to voluntary manslaughter in November. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison Monday by Judge William Fee, the maximum under a plea agreement. People filled the courtroom, with a waiting list outside the closed doors for seats that might be vacated. Many were Kelley’s family and friends as well as family and supporters of Huq.

Huq listened to the proceedings with a focused gaze. He cried while reading a statement to Kelley’s family and the court, apologizing for his actions and asking for forgiveness.

“Closure is a very misused word,” said Fee. However, he said, there can be a “reckoning” for Huq.

Monday, Shannon Kelley said the sentencing was the beginning of a healing process for the family.

“The pain is as real and raw today as it was 25 years ago,” said Shannon Kelley, who was 16 years old at the time her brother was killed.

Smith started working on the case in 2005 by poring over court documents and available evidence. He kept digging for information until, and after, Huq’s arrest in New Delhi, India, on Feb. 10, 2011.

Monday, Vern Kelley, Todd’s father, called Smith his hero.

Investigators surmised Huq fled to Bangladesh, where he has family. That could not be confirmed until late 2009, nearly five years into Smith’s investigation.

Smith made contact with Diplomatic Security Service agents at the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He provided the federal law enforcement officers with a former address of Huq’s family and a photograph, acquired through the initial investigation by Indiana State Police Officer Mark Carunchia and Steuben County Sheriff’s Department’s Mike McClelland. He included details about Huq obtained during the investigation of a 1988 burglary case, in which Huq allegedly assisted in two robberies from a truck stop in Fremont.

“We didn’t have any luck in 2005,” Smith told The Herald Republican (http://bit.ly/1g0Iksy ). “I waited about a year and a half, and I sent it back again.”

Again, nothing.

In 2009, Smith made contact with DSS Agent David Koczot.

Story Continues →