Iberia Sheriff’s Office & NAACP Issue Statements about Homicide Investigation of Quawan Charles
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office has released updates on the homicide investigation of Quawan "Bobby" Charles, a day after the Louisiana NAACP called on "the Louisiana State Police, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to work with local law enforcement officials as we seek to find answers."
“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," says Iberia Parish Sheriff Tommy Romero in a press release. "Any loss of life is a tragedy and that is especially true when it is a young person. Although we believe it is important not to compromise any part of our investigation, we are prepared to release some details so that the public can be assured we are not resting in our effort to find the truth,” said Sheriff Romero.
On Friday, the Louisiana NAACP extended its condolences to Quawan "Bobby" Charles' family and friends. They also "demand(ed) accountability and transparency with regards to the processes and procedures followed by law enforcement officials in the unusual circumstances surrounding in his death."
The letter - which was signed by LA State Conference President Michael McClanahan, State Vice President Marja Broussard, St. Mary Parish NAACP President District D Reginald Weary, and Iberia Parish NAACP President Gerri Brown - went on to say that the NAACP would "continue to provide our resources and support" to the family.
Here are the "facts" released by the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office in the press release:
- Just as we do in any case involving someone found deceased in this manner, we immediately began treating this as a homicide investigation at the very moment we found Quawan “Bobby” Charles.
- This is an active, ongoing homicide investigation.
- Quawan “Bobby” Charles was not residing in Iberia Parish before, or at the time of, his death. Our investigation indicates that a parent of Quawan “Bobby” Charles notified their local police department in Baldwin, Louisiana on October 30th of a potential disappearance. Further, that local department notified their local Sheriff’s office in St. Mary Parish of the potential disappearance. However, our office in Iberia Parish was not notified of the potential that we had a missing person in our area until November 3rd when we were contacted by a parent of Quawan “Bobby” Charles.
- On November 3rd, with amazing speed and through the great work of the team at the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s office, we were able to locate Quawan “Bobby” Charles within a matter of hours after being notified he might be missing.
- Since the time we launched a homicide investigation we have been actively and aggressively gathering evidence.
- We have conducted multiple in-person interviews with those who knew Quawan “Bobby” Charles and those who may have interacted with Quawan “Bobby” Charles before his death.
- 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.
- 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.
- We have obtained and reviewed video evidence showing Quawan “Bobby” Charles near that area. Video evidence indicates no other individuals present with Quawan “Bobby” Charles or anyone else present for some time before, or after, he is seen on the recording.
- We are awaiting a toxicology report as part of our efforts to gain additional evidence related to this investigation.
- An autopsy report was issued and those findings have already been made public.
Those autopsy findings from the Iberia Parish Coroner's Office say Charles likely died from drowning, according to our news partners at KATC. The family has requested an independent autopsy.
“We want to remind the public that this is an active, ongoing homicide investigation," says Sheriff Romero. "We urge anyone who has any additional information which might aid our investigation to come forward and contact the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-369-3711."
On Saturday, Charles' family and the Stand Back organization held a protest at the Baldwin Police Department to protest the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office and Baldwin Police Department's "obvious mishandling of the situation," according to our news partners at KATC.
15-year-old Quawan Charles of Baldwin was found dead by Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office Patrol Deputies and a law enforcement drone on November 3 near Loreauville in a sugarcane field and his family is waiting for answers on who killed him.
#JusticeforQuawan is calling attention to the gruesome pictures following his death. Out of respect to him and his family, we won't put that picture on our site but allow you to follow this link if you choose. On Twitter, many people are comparing his death to Emmitt Till, an African American boy who was lynched in the 1950's.
His family held a vigil for him last week, according to our news partners at KATC. They say he was last seen leaving his home in Baldwin with a friend and his friend's mom.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office says they continue to investigate the "suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of a male juvenile" they do not identify as Charles but that the person was reported missing to Baldwin Police on October 30, according to our news partners at KATC.
His mother, Roxanne Nelson, told KATC that she "want(s) the lady who came to get my son without my permission, his dad's permission, to be held accountable...She took them to her house, he was alive and well when he was here, and now he is dead when he went to Loreauville to her house."
According to a press release obtained from the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, investigators have interviewed multiple people and collected physical evidence which is being processed. The press release says they updated the parents on how the investigation was going and that they would continue to do so.
The family says they were told Charles drowned and now they’re working for an independent autopsy.
KPEL News called the number of the Iberia Parish Detective assigned to the case, Detective Jarred Spurlock (337-369-3711), around around 7:40 p.m. We were told by someone else who answered the phone that we would have to call back during normal business hours, which does not include Veteran's Day on Wednesday.
Gary Chambers, Co-Owner/Publisher at The Rouge Collection, has released information from a conversation with Eugene Weatherspoon Collins president of the Baton Rouge NAACP, that leads him to believe that Charles was lynched and a conversation that alleges that the Baldwin Police Department "did nothing" and "If they would have taken action, Quawan might still be alive today." KPEL News called Baldwin Police for comment but was told by dispatch that we would have to call back during normal business hours, which does not include Veteran's Day on Wednesday.