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Janna Kelly’s daughter testifies in cold case murder trial

Posted at 2:50 PM, Nov 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-03 17:18:05-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The trial of Robin Root, accused in the 2007 murder of Janna Kelly, continued Tuesday in Grand Rapids.

Kelly's daughter, Dana Isola, gave emotional testimony, fighting back tears as she recalled her life after her mother's death.

"It's difficult to describe what life is like," Isola said. "Holidays... she never got to know my husband and step kids."

Isola remembered the calls she received in December 2007 where she found out that Kelly had not shown up for work.  Friends, family and coworkers set out to find out how a woman known to have followed a set routine could disappear so suddenly.

In the days following Kelly's disappearance, police recovered her wallet, purse and car as well as a men's jacket with a blood stain on the zipper.

They also questioned Root, who had been living in Kelly's rental property in 2007 and was being evicted.  Detectives told the court that Root was very cooperative during questioning.

In court Tuesday, detectives went over Root and Kelly's cell phone signals, which were traced to Ottawa County after Kelly's disappearance.  Her body was eventually discovered in Grand Haven Township on March 13, 2008.

On Monday, Kent County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Lee Fisher revealed a bombshell oversight: the Grand Rapids Police Department failed to submit key pieces of DNA evidence years ago.

Fisher said the city's police crime lab simply forgot to send DNA of Root, who voluntarily provided it in 2007, to the State Police crime lab.

We'll have more on this story starting on FOX 17 News at 4