Quawan Charles: Family compare teenager’s death to 1955 lynching

A black teenager, who was found dead in woods in Louisiana, is believed to have drowned.

Quawan “Bobby” Charles’ disappearance and death has sparked speculation about racial crime.

The 15-year-old’s family filed a missing person’s report on 30 October in the St Mary Parish town of Baldwin.

His body was found four days later around 20 miles away in woods near the Iberia Parish town of Loreauville.

Police are treating the death as a homicide and have urged anyone who has any information to come forward.

Sheriff Tommy Romero said: “I want to assure the public that I, and my team, are doing everything we can, and following every lead, to gather evidence into what happened in the untimely death of Quawan “Bobby” Charles.

“Any loss of life is a tragedy and that is especially true when it is a young person.”

The Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office said there was no evidence of any pre-death injuries.

It said any trauma was caused by the post mortem or by aquatic animals, as his body was found in water.

Evidence of drowning included muddy water in his airways, “hyper inflated lungs” and water in his sinuses.

Quawan’s family has set up a fundraising page to raise $15,000 (£11,400) for an independent post mortem and other expenses.

The page, which shows a photo of Quawan next to one of 14-year-old Emmett Till who was lynched in 1955, has so far raised more than $244,000 (£185,000).

Ron Haley, one of three civil rights lawyers representing the Charles family, said in an email statement: “We certainly hope that the Sheriff Office and all of the local agencies are putting more energy in solving the mystery of Quawan’s death than they did in trying to find him when he was reported missing.

“Though it may appear that the relationship between the Charles family and the local agencies has been adversarial, at the end of the day the family just wants truthful answers so that they know how and why Quawan died regardless of who provides them those answers.”

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