Community members in Jackson, Mississippi, are demanding answers after 215 bodies were found in unmarked graves behind a local prison. Family members related to the deceased victims are outraged and claimed that officials never notified them about the death of their loved ones.
According to PBS, the bodies were found in “pauper graves” that were marked by “just a medal rod and a number.” The foul burial site is reportedly “filled with buzzards, scavengers, and a disturbing stench as bodies are placed in shadowed graves without embalming,” the Chicago Defender noted.
Activist Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed, is working to help the families of the deceased victims seek justice According to the Jackson, Mississippi, community leader, the burial site is compromised of both Black and white individuals. Family members of the deceased were under the impression that their loved ones were missing until they were notified about the unmarked cemetery in December, the outlet added.
The bizarre disappearance of Dexter Wade led to the grisly discovery.
The shocking discovery came months after Bettersten Wade, the mother of 37-year-old Dexter Wade, filed a missing police report hoping to find her son in 2023. After a brutal six-month search with little to no help from Jackson officials, authorities finally notified Wade in August that her son had been fatally hit by a police car and buried in the unmarked cemetery.
At the time, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba claimed that the incident was caused by “a lack of communication with the missing person’s division, the coroner’s office and accident investigation.”
During an interview with PBS News reporter Amna Nawaz, Wade demanded accountability from the Jackson Police Department.
“I was calling them. They didn’t have no information to let me know [if] they found any information. All the details that I gave them for a lead, they never came back to me,” she described of the painful search for Dexter. “I just couldn’t believe that he had disappeared off of the face of the earth.”
According to reports, Dexter was buried with his wallet, which had his ID and other documents with his personal information.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is working with Wade to seek justice for Dexter, told Namaz that authorizes had “no explanation” for their failure to contact Wade immediately upon her son’s death.
“They claimed that they tried to reach out to Miss Bettersten and you should know that Miss Bettersten is the named plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Jackson Police Department because they killed her brother three years earlier, as she went to two criminal trials and had several press conferences,” Crump revealed.
“So, when they called her house, if they did call her house — like they claimed — they knew where she lived. They knew how to get in contact with her if they really wanted to notify her that her son Dexter had been hit by a police car.”
Crump continued, “It is very suspicious that they would just bury him in the unmarked grave because they said they could not identify his next of kin. Miss Bettersten does not accept it. And because of her tenacity, it has exposed all of these loved ones being dropped in a hole in a bag behind a Mississippi jail.”
The famous attorney said he was working hard to fight for Ms. Wade and other families impacted by the Jackson Police Department’s egregious error. He also claimed that there were more bodies waiting to be identified in the unmarked cemetery.
“We know, based on the records from the coroner’s office, that, since 2016, in the last eight years, we can identify 215 individuals that were buried behind that jail, and their families have not been notified. Furthermore, Mr. Wade was number 672. That means there are 671 other people buried behind that jail marked with only a number.”
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