A Mississippi family and their lawyer are demanding answers and justice after an independent autopsy revealed that Rasheem Carter, a 25-year-old Black man, was found with his head severed from his body months after being reported missing. “One thing is for certain… This was not a natural killing. This was not a natural death. This represents a young man who was killed,” Ben Crump, Rasheem’s family attorney, said during a press conference on Monday (March 13).

In October 2022, Tiffany Carter filed a missing persons report for her son, Rasheem, after he suddenly vanished. His last known whereabouts were in Laurel, Mississippi. Prior to his disappearance, he confessed to Tiffany that he was being sought after by white men in the community, she informed reporters.

“My son told me that it was three truckloads of white guys trying to kill him. And at the time that he told me, as a mother, you know, I had to think fast. So I told him to go to the police station because I felt in my heart they would serve and protect like they are obligated to do,” she said.

Rasheem reportedly told his mother through text that a man he named explicitly in the messages did it if anything happened to him. Rasheem also shared his safety concerns with the Taylorsville Police Department on two separate occasions leading up to his disappearance, Tommy Cox, Laurel Police Department chief, stated. His station filed the initial missing persons case after the Carter family came to them for help.

In November 2022, nearly a month after his disappearance, parts of Rasheem’s remains were discovered in a wooded area south of Taylorsville, ABC News reported. According to the initial autopsy, the medical examiner ruled the 25-year-old’s manner of death as undetermined due to his body condition. However, Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston told NBC News that they initially believed no foul play was involved because earlier evidence didn’t reveal anything, but that they haven’t ruled it out. “Nothing is being swept under the rug,” Houston said Tuesday (March 14). “There’s nothing to hide.”

Crump told reporters that not only was Rasheem’s head separated from his body at the time of his discovery, but his spinal cord was also found in a different area from his head. “They have recently found remains that they believe are also Rasheem Carter at another part of where he went missing, and what that tells us is this was a nefarious act. This was an evil act. Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter. And we cannot let them get away with this,” Crump said. In light of the results, Crump is requesting that the U.S. Department of Justice open a federal investigation into Rasheem’s death. “This doesn’t seem like the act of just one individual,” Crump continued. “It kind of lines up with what Tiffany said; there was a lynch mob of three trucks chasing her son before he went missing.”