A family has called for a federal investigation into last year’s death of a Mississippi man who reportedly vanished after calling his mother about being chased by a group of white men that called him racial slurs.
Rasheem Carter, 25, was last seen at the Super 9 hotel in Laurel on October 2, around the time he reportedly contacted his mother about white men in three trucks following him. Carter’s body was discovered in a wooded area in Taylorsville a month later, according to NBC News.
NBC News reported that Carter was a welder and was in Taylorsville, 100 miles from home, for a contracting gig. Carter’s mother said the short-term job ended when he and the business owner got into an argument at the worksite which led Carter to fear for his life.
According to The Washington Post, Carter texted his mother about “not seeing eye to eye” with the business owner — who Carter also said “would be responsible” if something happened to him.
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Carter’s mother claimed he also sent her a text message reading, “I’m too smart, Mama. He’s got these guys who want to kill me.”
A day after the discovery, the Smith County Sheriff’s Department publicly announced that it has no reason to believe foul play is involved in Carter’s death. However, the family’s attorney, Ben Crump, alleged that Carter’s head was disconnected from his body — with the State Crime Lab giving the family a box containing his head and spinal cord.
On Monday, Crump urged the Justice Department to investigate Carter’s death as a civil rights case.
“They recently found remains they believe are also Rasheem Carter at another part of where he went missing. What that tells us is this was a nefarious act, an evil act. Someone murdered Rasheem Carter, and we cannot let them get away with this,” Crump said on Monday, according to WAPT.
Carter’s family also claimed that some of his front teeth were missing, suggesting an assault had occurred.
While the family claimed Carter called the police before he vanished, Chief Tommy Cox denied this to NBC News. Cox also said that he had turned over the case to Smith County police as it was outside their jurisdiction.
In November, Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston denied allegations that $500 was withdrawn from Carter’s bank account days after his disappearance. Houston said they found no evidence of any bank withdraws.
This week, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation told NBC News that an autopsy was completed on February 2. The agency said the FBI is not involved in the case, but it remains “open and ongoing.”
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[Featured image: Rasheem Carter/Handout]