Portland police have arrested a man three months after 23-year-old Bethany Kelley was found dead on Kennebec Street.

Bethany Kelley Courtesy Tamara Pinkham

The Portland Police Department on Tuesday announced it had arrested 45-year-old Frederick Johnson on a murder charge.

At the time of his arrest, Johnson was being held at the Aroostook County Jail in Houlton on unrelated charges. It’s not clear if he has been transferred to the Cumberland County Jail or when he will make an initial court appearance.

Kelley’s body was found on Nov. 18 on Kennebec Street near Chestnut Street by people walking in the neighborhood. Her death was ruled a homicide later that month, but police have not released a cause of death or a motive.

Those who knew her said she was loving, kind and honest. A childhood friend previously told the Press Herald that when Kelley was younger she liked to draw, listen to music and get dressed up.

Kelley’s half-sister, Melissa Green, has said that her sister had messaged her on Facebook about sex trafficking, providing few details but saying she had a lawyer and that, “I have a whole family after me.”

Green said she brought that information to police, but had not heard much about whether it was part of their investigation, and Portland police had declined to comment on it.

She said Kelley had fallen into depression and “started hanging out with not great people” and doing drugs. But the night she was killed she had called their stepfather to tell him she was getting clean and trying to get her life together. “It’s really sad,” Green said.

Kelley was homeless at the time of her death and her murder shook Portland’s houseless community, as advocates reported last month that at least 14 people have died over the last two months from overdoses, natural causes and homicides.

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