On Friday October 30 15-year-old Quawan Charles left his home with a 17-year-old friend and the friend's mother. Charles, nicknamed "Bobby", hadn't gotten his parents permission to leave the house and they became alarmed when he didn't answer their phone calls.
Like most parents Charles' family contacted local authorities when they couldn't find their son and gave them all the information they knew. Instead of issuing the Amber Alert that his parents had hoped for, New Orleans police told the couple that their son had probably gone to a local football game and "not to worry".
Their worries increased when the next day came and they still hadn't heard from their son, or the people he left the house with.
The family began searching on their own to find their lost member but, had no luck.
On November 3 "Bobby" was found dead. The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a statement a boy’s body was found around 5 p.m. Monday in a rural area off Ed Broussard Road near the village of Loreauville. The area is described as a sugar cane field with a creek running through it.
According to The Advocate "the family says Bobby's father was notified that night, but his mother wasn't notified until the next day."
Preliminary reports say that "Bobby" drowned but, his family begs to differ. They say a postmortem photo of their son show his face to be grotesquely disfigured much like that of Emmett Till. The photo was released by "Bobby's" family and we warn you, it is VERY disturbing. There's no possible way that this child sustained that type of disfigurement from drowning alone.
"It's almost as though they tried to sweep this under the rug," said Bobby's cousin, Celina Charles. "We not only feel like the family has been let down, but the community, the public, the media. Everybody has questions, not only the family. He was only 15. It could have been anybody's child."
"Quawan's face — you can see that it's just about gone," Charles said. "The coroner told us that there was no blunt force trauma to the head and no sign of strangulation, but when you look at him, you see something totally different from what the coroner said."
A spokesperson for the Iberia Parish Coroner's Office said no information in the case is being released to the public at this time, and the coroner's report could take about two months to complete."
The family has organized a GoFundMe account to help with the legal expenses expected in the death of their son as well as to pay for an independent autopsy. The coroner handling the investigation hasn't released an official report as of yet but, the police department is sticking to their story that "Bobby" drowned. . .
The older teen and his mother, the last two people seen with the victim, were White, like most of Bobby's friends, Charles told the Advocate.
"Quawan trusted his friend of another race," Charles told the Adovcate. "It was somebody he thought he could trust, and now he's not here today."
"I can't say that it was racially motivated. I can't say that it wasn't racially motivated," said André Arceneaux, a Lafayette activist who started the GoFundMe for the Charles family. "I just know that if you look at the picture of Quawan, and you look at the picture of Emmett Till, there are a lot of similarities, and it does appear that he was lynched."
There is something VERY WRONG with this case and anybody who has seen the uncensored photo can attest to that. There is no way this child sustained these type of injuries and disfigurement by simply drowning.
The more questions the public raises, the more it seems that the police department is trying to hide.
A spokesperson for the Baldwin Police Department declined to answer questions, instead issuing a statement.
"On behalf of the Baldwin Police Department, we are not investigating the death of a body found in Loreauville, Iberia Parish," said Baldwin Assistant Chief of Police Samuel Wise III in an email. "However, the Baldwin Police Department will be investigating reasons why the deceased juvenile was missing from his residence in Baldwin. Proper protocol was used to report the juvenile as missing and all procedures were followed thru within the Baldwin jurisdiction."
This whole thing doesn't sit right with us. What really happened to Quawan Charles? We demand to know!