Video shows Louisiana teen Quawan Charles alone near where his body was later found: Officials

The sheriff's office shared new details in the case, citing "public interest."

November 14, 2020, 9:05 PM

Authorities said they have obtained video evidence in the homicide investigation of a missing Black teenager that showed him alone near where his body was later found.

Fifteen-year-old Quawan "Bobby" Charles went missing from his Baldwin, Louisiana, home on Oct. 30. His body was found in a sugarcane field about 20 miles away in Iberia Parish several days later, his family said.

A graphic photo of his body circulated online this week, drawing attention to the circumstances around his death, which the local sheriff's department had deemed "suspicious."

The family has called for more answers in Charles' death, and the American Civil Liberties Union is demanding a full, independent investigation amid what the organization claims is a 'lack of transparency demonstrated by local officials."

On Saturday, Iberia Parish Sheriff Tommy Romero issued an update on the investigation, citing "public interest" in the case.

The sheriff's office said it has obtained video evidence of Charles near the area he was found that indicates he was alone "for some time before, or after, he is seen on the recording."

PHOTO: This undated photo provided by the family through the NAACP shows Quawan Charles.
This undated photo provided by the family through the NAACP shows Quawan Charles. Activists and the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana are calling for an independent investigation into the death of Charles, a Black 15-year-old whose body was found Nov. 3, 2020, days after he was reported missing.
Family Photo/Courtesy of NAACP via AP

The sheriff's office said it has also conducted several interviews with and is "actively tracking" the whereabouts of people who were reportedly with Charles right before his disappearance. They have also collected evidence from those people's home, officials said.

Investigators have additionally interviewed people who may have interacted with Charles before his death, as well as at least one eyewitness who reportedly saw him in the area where he was found, the sheriff's office said.

"I want to assure the public that I, and my team, are doing everything we can, and following every lead, to gather evidence into what happened in the untimely death of Quawan 'Bobby' Charles," Romero said.

One of Charles' parents notified Baldwin police of his potential disappearance on Oct. 30, the sheriff's office said. One of his parents notified the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office on Nov. 3, and Charles was found several hours later, officials said.

No other details could be shared at this time due to the ongoing nature of the investigation, authorities said.

On Friday, the Iberia Parish Coroner's Office released the preliminary findings of Charles' autopsy, which ruled his likely cause of death as drowning. The report noted no evidence of trauma before death, and said that postmortem injuries on his face were "likely aquatic activity."

Young Quawan Charles is seen here in this undated family photo.
Young Quawan Charles is seen here in this undated family photo.
Quawan Charles' family

The report noted that the results could change depending on final autopsy findings and any evidence provided by law enforcement.

A toxicology report is still pending.

The family's lawyers said in a statement Saturday evening that they did not authorize the preliminary autopsy report to be released to the media before they had told extended family the results. The lawyers, Ronald Haley, Chase Trichell, Dedrick Moore and Ryan Thompson, also said the family was requesting a meeting with Romero no later than Monday to discuss the findings of the case.

An independent autopsy is being conducted by American Forensics of Mesquite, Texas, The Associated Press reported.

Romero is urging anyone with information to contact the sheriff's office at 337-369-3711.

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