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Family of missing Black man found dead believe he was lynched and dismembered, call on DOJ to investigate

Autopsy photos from the death of Rasheem Carter are shown at a news conference from attorney Ben Crump. (Screenshot from news conference.)

Autopsy photos from the death of Rasheem Carter are shown at a news conference. (Screenshot from a news conference.)

The family of a Black man whose remains were found a month after he went missing in Mississippi believes he was lynched and dismembered, calling on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate the death and a text he sent his mother 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 after the 25-year-old went missing in October, family attorney Ben Crump said at a news conference.

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.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation reportedly said due to the condition of the remains, the medical examiner could not reasonably determine a cause of death.

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.

“To this date, we do not have evidence of foul play, but everything is on the table,” Houston told CNN. “Until we turn over every stone, it’s still an open investigation.”

Crump called it a nefarious, evil act.

“Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter,” he said. “And we cannot let them get away with this. There is nothing natural about this. This screams out for justice.”

His mother, Tiffany Carter, said her son texted her on Oct. 1, saying “three truckloads of white guys” were trying to kill him.

“Me and the owner of this company not seeing eye to eye, mama,” she read from the text without identifying anyone. “If anything happened to me, he’s responsible for it. I’m too smart, Mama. He got these guys wanting to kill me.”

She said she instructed him to go to the police, and he did, but they allegedly didn’t help him.

“What we have is a Mississippi lynching, a Mississippi lynching in 2022,” Crump said.

Attorney Carlos Moore, who joined Crump and the family at the news conference, compared the case to that of Emmett Till, the Black teenager kidnapped and lynched after being accused of offending a white woman in 1955 in Mississippi.

“I’ve been a Mississippian for all 46 years of my life, and I’ve never heard of a crime this horrific,” he said. “I thought we had progressed in Mississippi. But we are living in the Jim Crow era 2.0, and there seems to be a surge of white supremacy. There’s no reason that Rasheem Carter should have been killed. He was dutifully and gainfully employed just trying to make a living for his young child and ends up dead, chased by what we believe to be a white supremacist, a lynch mob.”

Carter’s mother said he was more than a son.

“He acted like my best friend, my brother, my uncle,” she said. “He was just a man that wanted to do what he had to do to make a difference in the lives of others.”

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