Attorneys and family members are urging the FBI to investigate the death of a Black man whose skeletal remains were found after he said he was being chased by white men who were hurling racial slurs.
25-year-old Rasheem Carter was initially reported missing in October after informing his mother that he was being pursued by white men in trucks. The following month, authorities found his remains in the woods of Taylorsville, Mississippi. The Smith County Sheriff's Department said in a November statement that it had "no reason to believe foul play was involved" in the case of Carter's death.
On Monday (March 13), Carter's family and attorney Ben Crump called for a federal investigation into his death, which they believe was the result of a brutal hate crime, per NBC News. Crump revealed new photos of Carter's skeletal remains, saying that the 25-year-old's head was severed from his body and that his spinal cord was found in a separate location from his head.
"This was a nefarious act. This was an evil act," Crump said at Monday's news conference. "Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter, and we cannot let them get away with this."
Carter's front teeth were also missing from the top and bottom rows of his mouth, which could indicate that he was assaulted before his death, family members said.
"There is nothing natural about this. It screams out for justice," Crump said. "What we have is a Mississippi lynching."
It's unclear what led the Smith County Sheriff's Department to determine that no foul play was suspected, NBC News reports. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said a probe into Carter's death is still "open and ongoing." An agency spokesperson confirmed that the FBI isn't currently involved in the case.
According to the family, authorities said wild animals may have torn Carter's body to pieces.
"He was in so many different pieces," one family member said. "They wanted to tell us that he went there and fell dead and the animals were feeding off him."
However, Carter's mother said her son clearly warned her about the threats he faced.
"When I went on the scene, the Holy Spirit hit me and said this is foul play," Tiffany Carter said. "I knew then somebody had done something to him."
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