A Black man from Mississippi who went missing late last year after claiming he faced racism was found dead with his head severed from his body, according to his family’s lawyer who cited an independent autopsy report.
Rasheem Carter, 25, called his mother last October and asked for help after he said a group of white men in trucks were chasing him in Laurel, Mississippi, his mother said this week.
On 2 November, authorities said they found Carter’s remains in a wooded area south of Taylorsville, Mississippi.
The Smith County Sheriff’s Department said at the time that it had “no reason to believe foul play was involved”, though the case was under investigation.
At a news conference on Monday, the family’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, called the incident a hate crime and asked the Department of Justice to investigate.
He said an autopsy performed on 2 February showed Mr Carter had been decapitated and his body parts found in different locations.
“This was a nefarious act. This was an evil act. Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter, and we cannot let them get away with this.”
Mr Crump said.
“There is nothing natural about this,” he added. “What we have is a Mississippi lynching.”
“His head was severed from his body. His vertebrae, his spinal cord was in another spot they discovered away from his severed head. They have recently found remains that they believe are also Rasheem Carter,” said Mr Crump, citing the autopsy report of the Mississippi State Medical Examiner’s Office.
Mississippi police have said other agencies, including the FBI, are assisting in the ongoing probe.
The medical examiner had ruled the cause of Carter’s death to be undetermined. The conditions of the remains made it difficult to determine exact timing of the injuries, apart from signs of animal activity that have clouded a clearer picture, according to the report.
“Nothing is being swept under the rug,” the sheriff Mr Houston said.
“There’s nothing to hide.”