The disappearance and mysterious death of a 15-year-old Black boy in rural Louisiana has left his family expressing frustration at what they call local law enforcement’s failure to act in the hours after the boy vanished, the Washington Post reports. The body of Quawan “Bobby” Charles was found Nov. 3 in a sugar cane field near the tiny village of Loreauville 25 miles north of his home. The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office said it is investigating the “suspicious circumstances” of the death but has released few details since the boy went missing two weeks ago. His parents say the sheriff’s office told them that their son had drowned and water was found in his lungs. An autopsy has been completed, the Iberia Parish coroner’s office said, but a report could take up to 12 weeks.
Quawan’s cousin, Celina Charles, called the drowning explanation “bogus.” She said, “His face says different.” In a photo the family has published online, the teen appears so disfigured that his teeth are visible outside of his mouth. The family has ordered an independent autopsy. Quawan’s parents reported his disappearance from his father’s home in Baldwin, La., on Oct. 30, says family attorney Ron Haley. The Baldwin Police Department took a report, but gave no indication that they were searching for the teen or actively investigating his disappearance. Instead, they suggested Quawan might have gone to a football game and asked if the boy had a troubled past, he said. Quawan’s family learned through a third party that a 17-year-old friend and his mother, Gavin and Janet Irvin, had picked up Quawan around 3 p.m. the day he went missing. Kenneth Jacko, Quawan’s father, said neither he nor Quawan’s mother knew the Irvins, who are White, and had not given them permission to take Quawan.