Protest calls for justice after Mississippi man found with head severed

Rasheem Carter went missing in October. His remains were found a month later.

April 29, 2023, 4:34 PM

The family of a Black man who was found dead with his head severed held a protest Saturday after being notified that a third set of his remains was located.

The Mississippi Crime Lab notified the family that remains found on Feb. 23 matched Rasheem Carter's DNA, according to a statement released by his family and their attorney, Ben Crump.

"It is unacceptable that the family had to find out through an email that more of Rasheem's remains were found, and still, they haven't been told any other information, been offered a meeting with officials, or received his remains," the statement said. "They continue to be stonewalled at every turn. This family just wants to find out what happened to Rasheem and say their goodbyes -- they ask that the additional remains be returned to them so that they can lay him to rest."

The Mississippi Crime Lab did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

A large assembly of men with Israel United in Christ marched through the streets of Taylorsville on Saturday calling for justice for Rasheem Carter.

"This has really been a struggle for our family, but we're going to do the best we can to fight," Tiffany Carter, Rasheem Carter's mother, said during the protest. "We're going to do what we gotta do to get the justice that we deserve to have."

Rasheem Carter, 25, went missing last October just days after telling his mother and the police that white men in his community were targeting him.

Around a month later, Rasheem Carter's remains were found in a wooded area south of Taylorsville.

"My son told me that it was three truckloads of white guys trying to kill him. And at the time that he told me, as a mother, you know, I had to think fast. So I told him to go to the police station because I felt in my heart they would serve and protect like they are obligated to do," Tiffany Carter said during a press briefing last month.

Rasheem Carter visited the Taylorsville Police Department on two separate occasions leading up to his disappearance, according to Tommy Cox, chief of the Laurel Police Department, which filed the initial missing persons' case after the family came to them for help.

In addition to Rasheem Carter's head being severed, his spinal cord was recovered in a separate area from his head, according to Crump.

"One thing is for certain. … This was not a natural death. This represents a young man who was killed," Crump said last month after the release of the autopsy report by the Mississippi State Medical Examiner's Office.

The medical examiner ruled that the cause and manner of death were undetermined.

The Smith County Police Department originally ruled out foul play in the case. According to Crump, officials recanted their statement.

"From the beginning of this case, the family has been misled," Crump said. "At first, when the first of Rasheem's remains were discovered with his head decapitated from his body, officials told the family that it was animals that killed Rasheem. Then officials admitted that they believed he was murdered."

Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston told ABC News in March that earlier evidence of the case "didn't suggest" any foul play, stressing that "nothing is being swept under the rug."

Rasheem Carter's family and attorneys have called for a federal probe from the U.S. Department of Justice into his death.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is also investigating the incident. The MBI did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.