Family Of Army Veteran Wants Answers After He Was Found Hanging In A Park
Police allegedly told the family they were unable to pull footage from a nearby camera that could have captured the incident.
by Kui Mwai
June 23, 2022 at 4:25 pm
Donté Perez Jones, a Pennsylvania army veteran and father of three, was found hanging in a park behind Whitpain Township Police Department in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, on June 17, The Shade Room reports. Now, his family wants answers.
Jones was found in the park around 7 a.m. by a passerby. They called the police, who allegedly later told Jones’ mother, LaTina Dean, that the case was closed and was ruled an alleged suicide.
Dean said she believes the case should be treated as a killing, and the police department’s lack of investigation suggests it may be a cover-up.
On June 18, Dean and other members of Jones’ family gathered at the park where the veteran was found, and took a video of their conversation about the incident and the questionable information they’ve received from police.
A family member of Jones said that Dean was not allowed to see her son after his body was found.
“They wouldn’t let you identify the body, they wouldn’t allow you to see if there were any types of marks on his body, you weren’t able to check his neck to see if he was hung, you weren’t able to check his wrists for handcuffs [and] you were unable to check his entire body for any type of bruises or to even identify if that was actually your son,” the family member said.
The family member said that they went to the park to search for any cameras that may have captured the incident. After discovering a camera they said would have captured the incident, officers told the family that pulling footage from that camera would be impossible.
“Yesterday they told us they didn’t have access to that camera, that camera is a live feed and we don’t know if we can even get footage off that camera for you guys,” the family member said. “But this is a park where all children play, you mean to tell me you don’t [have] footage, you’re not covering children in a park?”
Dean said she was told, “No one was watching the cameras.”
Jones’ mother mentioned that there are more details that point to her son being killed. She added there were additional details that pointed to a cover-up by the Whitpain Township Police Department. She also said that just a few hours after her son was found, there was an event in the park.
“Is that what we do?” Dean asked.
She revealed that “his wallet is missing,” and that investigators said they would not do an autopsy.
“I said, ‘I’m requesting that you do an autopsy in case someone gave him narcotics or knocked him out, he’s a big guy, he served in the military for six years, National Guard. … You’re not going to tell me he don’t know how to defend himself,'” she said.
“This is an educated man that went to Shippensburg [University] for undergrad and grad,” Dean said. “He’s educated, he’s smart, he went into the military, he wanted to go to the military first, but I told him, ‘No, you need to go to school and get an education, because that’s one thing they can’t take from you.’ I didn’t know to tell him that they could take his life.”
She continued, questioning the Whitpain Township Police Department’s conduct.
“How do you not have answers for me? And how do you be so insensitive to me. And this is the country he fought for?” she said.
The Department released a statement on Monday, saying they were still looking into Jones’ case.
“The investigation into the death of Mr. Jones is ongoing, and the Whitpain Police Department did not report that the investigation is closed,” they stated. “We are taking this matter seriously, as we would with any other situation.”