Family mourns Amber Kelly, urges domestic violence victims to speak out

The family of a woman allegedly killed by her boyfriend is speaking out as they still wrap their heads around this tragic loss. The boyfriend of Amber Kelly surrendered himself to Sandy Springs police last week. Her family wants others who may be in danger to not be afraid to speak up. 

Amber Kelly's family still finds it hard to believe that she is gone. 

"It hurts so much that she's not here. I'm not going to be able to feel her touch. I'm not going to be able to hear her say, ‘Mommy’ or as she would affectionately say, ‘Mommy dearest,’" said Amber’s mother, Sharon Herndon. 

Police charged Mamadi Tambajang with malice murder and aggravated assault. Sandy Springs police say he turned himself in last Wednesday and told officers he left his girlfriend in her apartment where she wasn't moving or responding. That's where officers found the 31-year-old dead. 

"I would ask Amber, I'd say, ‘Amber, are you OK?’ And she would say, ‘Yes.’ She would say she was fine, but she wasn't fine," said Herndon. 

Deaths from domestic violence are a growing problem in Georgia. According to the latest data from the Georgia Commission on Family Violence, the number of deaths from family violence rose by 42% from 2012 to 2022. 

Help leaving domestic violence

Amber's family wants others who may be in danger to know it's OK to speak up. 

"Talk to your friends. Talk to your friends that love you because it could make a difference," said Amber’s sister, Candace Kelly. 

"Remove yourself. Don't stay. Save your life because it's valuable," said Herndon. 

"That was my best friend," Kelly said of Amber. 

Advocates say there are resources available for anyone who needs help. 

"It's important if you are a victim that you connect with a domestic violence program. Advocates there can help you develop a safety plan. And a safety plan is so vital if you're thinking about leaving your relationship, the safety plan can figure out how best to do that," said Karimah Dillard, Georgia Coalition against Domestic Violence. 

Anyone who knows about a domestic violence situation or if someone needs help leaving an abusive relationship should call the Georgia Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-33-HAVEN (4-2836). 

Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected or a child in crisis should call 1-855-GACHILD (422-4453). The Georgia Child Protective Services Hotline again is 1-855-422-4453.

Both hotlines are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, if there's an immediate need for law enforcement intervention, call 911.