The family of a Black Mississippi man is calling for a federal investigation to be conducted into their loved one’s death after he was found dismembered. Local authorities investigating the case said they didn’t suspect foul play to be involved, stating his wounds may have been caused by an animal.

A news conference in Jackson, Mississippi, was held on Monday by the family of 25-year-old Rasheem Carter, who was reported missing in October of last year and found dead and dismembered a month later.

According to his mother, Tiffany Carter, her son had called her asking for help before he went missing, saying he was being chased by a group of white men in three trucks yelling racial slurs at him.

That was the last contact that Tiffany Carter had with her son, whose remains were found on Nov. 2 in a wooded area in Mississippi.

A day after his remains were found, the Smith County Sheriff’s Department released a statement and said there was “no reason to believe foul play was involved,” despite the case still being under investigation and an autopsy not being complete — the autopsy was finished in early February.

Loved ones for Carter were joined on Monday by their attorney, Ben Crump, who slammed local law enforcement, saying that he and his clients received no information for more than four months. He also criticized their haste in coming to their initial determination.

Crump went on to say that they believe Carter did not die of natural causes, as they claim, but that he was a brutal victim of a hate crime.

“This was a nefarious act. This was an evil act,” Crump said at a news conference. “Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter, and we cannot let them get away with this.”

During the conference, Crump urged the Department of Justice to take over the investigation and treat it as a civil rights case. Displaying photographs of Carter’s skeletal remains, Crump said, “this was not a natural death.”

“This represents a young man who was killed,” Crump said.

According to Crump, their team believes that Carter had his head severed from his body, noting that his spinal cord was found in another location away from his head. He also said that Carter’s front teeth were missing from the top and bottom rows, which his family says could indicate he was assaulted before his death.

“There is nothing natural about this. It screams out for justice,” Crump said. “What we have is a Mississippi lynching.”

It has not been made clear what resulted in authorities coming to the conclusion that foul play was not suspected.

Carter’s mother’s cousin, Yokena Anderson, spoke during the news conference, saying that officials told them he had gone to the woods “and fell dead, and the animals were feeding off him.

The FBI has commented on the case, saying it is not currently involved. There has been no indication of if that will change.

Despite this, his mother pledged to continue to fight for a resolution as she recalled him telling her, “I got these men trying to kill me” the last time they spoke.

“They thought this was going to be a child no one cared anything about,” she said. “They’re clearly mistaken. Because he was somebody.”

Original Article