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Cause of death of Black man whose mother believes was lynched, dismembered, could not be determined: Authorities

Autopsy photos from the death of Rasheem Carter are shown at a news conference from attorney Ben Crump. (Screenshot from news conference, left. Screenshot from NBC Jackson, Miss. affiliate WLBT, right)

Rasheem Carter was found dead in November in Mississippi. (Screenshot from NBC Jackson, Miss. affiliate WLBT, left. Screenshot from a news conference, right)

The cause of death of a Black man whose skeletal remains were found in Mississippi and whose mother believes was lynched and dismembered could not be determined due to the condition of the remains, authorities said.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) said Wednesday that the medical examiner could not reasonably determine the cause of death of Rasheem Carter, 25.

“Based solely upon the condition of the remains, there was no means by which a cause of death could be reasonably determined by the medical examiner’s office,” officials said in a statement emailed to Law&Crime. “However, MBI and the Smith County Sheriff’s Department are actively continuing their investigation into the death of Mr. Carter.”

Carter’s skeletal remains were in Smith County on Nov. 2, 2022, a month after his family reported him missing.

His mother said last week she believes he was lynched and called on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the death and a text he sent her saying white men in trucks were trying to kill him.

Rasheem Carter’s head was severed from his body, his spinal cord separated from his head, and his body parts were scattered, family attorney Ben Crump said.

The Smith County Sheriff’s Department said his body was found in a wooded area on Nov. 2 near Taylorsville, about 63 miles southeast of Jackson, Mississippi. Carter was reported missing on Oct. 2 in Laurel, about 22 miles southeast of where his remains were found.

Initially, officials said they had no reason to believe foul play was involved but also said the case remained under investigation with the help of state investigators and the FBI.

The medical examiner’s report did not specifically say Carter was dismembered, CNN reported. Two dozen bones and fragments were found scattered across two acres, and evidence found during the autopsy indicated that animals had scavenged Carter’s remains, the outlet reported.

Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston told CNN he would welcome a federal probe into the case. He said investigators had not found evidence to corroborate the allegation that Carter was being followed.

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