A Mississippi family is still seeking answers from police after their loved one died in 2022, shortly after telling his mother that white men in three pickup trucks were following and harassing him.
Speaking to HuffPost, Tiffany Carter said her son Rasheem Ryelle Carter sent her the worrying text on Oct. 1 from Taylorsville, Mississippi, where he works.
“When he sent that to me, I freaked out. And I kept calling him and calling him, until he texted back saying, ‘I’m good, Mama,’” Tiffany told HuffPost.
The grieving mother also said her son went to Taylorsville police later that day and told them that he feared for his life. Carter, according to Tiffany, asked police to give him a ride back to the Super 8 motel in Laurel, where he was living.
Police confirmed that Carter asked for a ride. However, they also told HuffPost that Carter never mentioned fearing for his life. Additionally, police said they denied his request for a ride because they were not a “taxi service.”
Taylorsville Police Chief Gabe Horn, who spoke with a local newspaper known as The Natchez Democrat, said Carter did file a police report when he visited the station, but he didn’t press any charges against whomever was threatening him.
Horn also said police didn’t give him a ride to Laurel, which is located about 22 miles southeast of Taylorsville, because it was out of the department’s jurisdiction. Carter was never heard from after he left the police station. Tiffany reported her son missing to Laurel authorities on Oct. 2.
“I called them and reported that my son was missing, I had not talked to him, and it was strange that we didn’t talk,” she told HuffPost.
Police found Carter’s body a month later in a wooded area just a few miles from the Taylorsville police station.
“At this time, we have no reason to believe foul play was involved, but the case is still under investigation,” the Smith County Sheriff’s Office in Raleigh, which was running the investigation, said in a statement on Nov. 3.
The autopsy report later concluded that the remains showed “no pathological conditions or significant skeletal trauma,” but there were several fractures. The cause of death was listed as “undetermined.”
The office of civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, which conducted an independent autopsy, concluded that Carter had been “dismembered” and his head was not attached to his body.
“What that tells us is that this was a nefarious act. This was an evil act. Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter. And we cannot let them get away with this,” Crump said according to Huffpost. “When you look at these pictures taken at the autopsy, it tells you there is nothing natural about this. It screams out for justice.”
Carter’s family is also pointing to other possible clues, including a $500 transaction that appeared on his debit card. Additionally, someone had captured Carter in a photo in his final hours. The photo shows a side view of Carter in the woods with his shirt off and wearing blue jeans while carrying a wooden object on his shoulder.
Tiffany said her son appears to be trying to protect himself in the photo.
“I will never let my son go, never. He will always have a place in my heart because that was my baby boy,” Tiffany said. “I can’t change what has happened, but I can make sure it does not happen to somebody else. I can go out there and still fight and still try to get justice for my son and anybody else.”
Carter, who was a star student-athlete in Fayette, Mississippi, graduated from Hinds Community College in 2016 with a degree in welding and cutting technology. He then worked for a railroad company in Brookhaven, Mississippi, before he started a new lumber contracting job in Taylorsville.
Carter was working to support his daughter.