The family of a man found dead in a well demands justice from the community

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Community members have raised nearly $10,000 to cover funeral expenses for the man whose body was found Monday 200 feet from the town’s water well. Law enforcement is still trying to figure out how the body of 26-year-old Jerome Crystian fell into a water pipe just 15 inches wide.

His family, still in disbelief, were confused and unaware of what might have happened. Her sister Ashley Khan, who lives in the UK, says her mother’s voicemail informing her of her brother’s death still haunts her today.

“She looked really sad,” Khan said. “She said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this, but little Jerome is dead’ and hearing all that, I felt like my body was breaking into pieces.”

Jerome Crystian was the third oldest of 5 siblings, once attending South High School. He was on disability following a shoulder injury at work in 2019.

Bakersfield Police continue to investigate the gruesome discovery and the well remains out of service, likely until the investigation is complete. Who did this, how or why? All the family knows is that his lifeless body was found in this pipe.

“Other than that, there was no information at all,” Khan said. “It doesn’t help our grieving process at all.”

According to Cal Water, the water well at the corner of Demaret Avenue and New Stine Road had been out of service since Nov. 15 due to a mechanical problem. Nearly four months later, rehabilitation of the well was beginning, but a pumping service worker made the grim discovery, delaying the rehabilitation of the well.

Ashley’s mother saw Crystian five days before she received the horrific news that accompanied the rumors about her brother.

“He wasn’t homeless at all. He lived with my mother,” Khan said. “He spent a lot of time with his friends, often crashed with his friends.”

Khan shares the family’s plans to collect a reward that could lead to answers about what happened to Jerome.

“We want answers,” Khan said. “Someone has to say something and help my family find peace.”

There are two ongoing fundraisers to pay for Jerome Crystian’s funeral costs, a GoFundMe was created by a work colleague of Jérôme’s mother. Another was created by Basham Funeral Home.

About Michael C. Lovelace

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