Attorney Ben Crump and Family of Rasheem Carter Critical of Investigation into Carter’s Death, and District Attorney Chris Hennis’ Statement

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By Julie McCaffrey and Claire Hsu

JACKSON, MS – Attorney Ben Crump and the family of missing Rasheem Carter late last week released a press statement critical of Simpson County District Attorney Chris Hennis’ response about the investigation into Carter’s whereabouts and possible death.

Carter went missing last October after telling his mother three truckloads of white men were trying to kill him, according to ABC 7 News. The station reported the first set of his remains were found around a month after he went missing, in a woods south of Taylorsville.

According to ABC 7, a fourth set of remains were found on April 30. A bystander videoed the remains being examined by the police at the scene, then sent the video to the Carter family, ABC 7 reports. The video shows two officers nearby remains that appeared to be a human arm and hand.

Family Attorney Crump said, “There is no excuse for bystanders coming showing the video to the family, and officials not having the dignity and respect to notify the family immediately, and say ‘we found more human remains in the vicinity where you son’s head and spinal cord and other bodily remains were found,” according to ABC 7 News.

In a statement released on May 15 by DA Hennis, police notified the family of the remains on May 4, five days after the remains were found.

Hennis added that “the bones were suspected to be animal bones,” and “on May 12, 2023… I was given oral confirmation by the Mississippi Crime Laboratory that the bones, as suspected, were animal bones.”

Crump and the family of Carter responded, saying “every lead should be pursued and every conclusion backed up by evidence. Bystander video tells us that police examined the most recent unidentified remains. If they were all animal and not human, as the D.A. claims, they need to share the laboratory evidence and not ask the family to simply trust their word.”

According to ABC 7 News, the Smith County Sheriff’s Department said that it believes there was no foul play in the disappearance of Carter. Carter’s family members believe that this claim is “dubious.”

The autopsy report on the first two sets of remains ruled the cause of death undetermined.

The mother of Carter, Tiffany Carter, said Friday, “I am overwhelmed with the oppression that this state has caused in our lives. I want something done, and I want it done immediately. I’m tired of waiting,” according to ABC 7 News.

As the family of Carter and protesters continue to demand for justice, authorities continue to claim they are being transparent, said ABC 7 News, adding, Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston affirmed “nothing is being swept under the rug” and that “there’s nothing to hide.”

In their press statement, Attorney Crump and Rasheem Carter’s mother concluded, “Our goal is to build trust with local officials, but that depends on a robust and energetic investigation by officials and absolute transparency with the family.”

About The Author

Julie is a third year at UC Davis majoring in Communications and Psychology with a minor in Philosophy. She hopes to advocate for women's reproductive rights and make the justice system fairer for sexual assault survivors.

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