Death of missing La. teen Quawan Charles investigated as homicide, video evidence collected deputies say

Updated: Nov. 14, 2020 at 7:54 PM CST
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IBERIA PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Video shows no one was with 15-year-old Quawan Charles around the time of his death, deputies in the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office reported Saturday, Nov. 14.

The sheriff’s office said the video recorded Charles near the area. No one is recorded before or after he is seen on video “for some time,” the sheriff’s office said.

Still, a statement issued on behalf of Sheriff Tommy Romero confirmed Charles' death is being investigated as a homicide.

“We gathered evidence at the home of individuals who reportedly were with Quawan ‘Bobby’ Charles just before his disappearance. We interviewed these same individuals and are actively tracking their whereabouts,” the statement says. “We have spoken with at least one eye witness who reportedly saw Quawan ‘Bobby’ Charles before his death in the area near where he was later found deceased.”

An investigation into what happened before Charles' death is ongoing.

Criticism and confusion about law enforcement’s protocol to respond to missing person reports continue to rock rural Louisiana.

Family members say their missing person report for Charles was not taken seriously.

Days later Charles was found dead.

“Anytime you have a missing child I think all hands need to be on deck,” said Ron Haley, the family’s attorney, prior to the latest news about the case. “I don’t care if it turns out to be a false report. I don’t care if he turns out to be by a friend’s house or somewhere else and the parents just didn’t know. Just the inkling of the possibility that something like this could happen should mean that every missing child’s case should be taken with the utmost seriousness. And this one wasn’t until it was too late.”

Charles' family believes race may have been a factor, Haley said.

“The phrase Black lives matter. It’s not just in reference to police brutality cases. It’s the collective indifference at times that are shown from our government institutions our financial institutions, other institutions both in the private and public sector. And in this case, the family’s frustration is they believe if Bobby Charles was a white kid more attention would have been drawn to it immediately,” said Haley. “That, potentially, there could have been an intervention that could have stopped this from happening.”

A preliminary autopsy report suggests Charles drowned.

Injuries publicized through a graphic photograph of Charles may have been caused after his death by animals, according to the report reviewed by KATC-TV.

A full autopsy with toxicology reports has been ordered by the sheriff’s office. Results are expected to come back in several weeks.

The family has also requested an independent autopsy for Charles.

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