A Black 15-year-old was found dead in a sugar cane field in rural Louisiana, and now his family is seeking answers. According to reports, a white 17-year-old friend and his mother picked up Quawan “Bobby” Charles on the evening of Oct. 30 without his parents’ permission.
When they were unable to reach or find their son, Bobby’s parents called both the Baldwin Police Department and West St. Mary Sheriff’s Office to report him as missing. Tragically, the teenager was found deceased four days later.
In a statement, the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office said Bobby’s body was found in a rural area near Loreauville, Louisiana. According to a report by KATC, his family says police have told them he drowned. However, Bobby’s family does not believe this, as the teen had horrific injuries to his face and head when they saw him at the coroner’s office. The family and others have shared a graphic photo of Bobby’s brutalized body on social media.
“His face is disfigured. So there’s some explaining that needs to be done there,” Celina Charles — the family’s spokesperson — said.
Bobby’s family is now seeking their own independent autopsy to get around the cops’ lack of transparency.
“They still have not shown us where Quawan was or what creek he was found at. We can’t even go and put up a cross where he was found at,” Charles said. “They’re being very discreet.”
Attorney Ron Haley — who is representing the family — also claims police didn’t take Bobby’s parents seriously when they reported him missing. Despite the family’s pleas for help, the department never issued an Amber Alert.
“They were told things [by police] like, ‘He’s probably at a football game; probably here; there; anywhere else,’ and we don’t know if those delays could’ve contributed to his death,” he said. “We know when there is a missing child, the most critical moment is when you first call law enforcement that the child is missing.”
Bobby’s family is now calling for the arrest of any individual who was involved in his death and have asked to see the coroner’s preliminary findings. They also wants to know why the Baldwin Police Department failed to send out an Amber Alert to help find Bobby.
“If people see themselves or their nephew or their son in Bobby, then maybe the discourse in the community [can] begin to happen and we can talk to each other about race and violence and this massive discord,” one of their lawyers, Chase Trichelle, said.
Find Bobby’s family’s GoFundMe Page here, where they are raising money to conduct an independent autopsy.
“I’m devastated. I never thought this would happen to my son,” his mother, Roxanne Nelson, said. “I just want justice for my son.”