A police car
As far as Bettersen Wade knew, her son Dexter went missing on March 5. After she reported his disappearance to the Jackson, Mississippi police department, they continually told her they weren’t able to find him, NBC News reports. So she began searching for him herself, posting updates on social media and regularly calling to see if the police had any updates. After 172 days of searching, she finally got a heartbreaking answer.
As it turned out, Dexter had been hit and killed by a police officer less than an hour after he left his mother’s house. And even though his body had been identified, no one bothered to tell her until six months later. To make matters worse, because they waited so long to tell her that her son was dead, he was buried in a pauper’s grave, marked only by a small sign that listed it as grave number 672. Considering the Wade family’s history with the Jackson Police Department, you also have to wonder if this was personal:
“My mama told me, ‘They’re not going to do anything,’” Bettersten recalled. “But I had to do something to find Dexter, and I thought that was the best way.”
The officer who killed Dexter was not declared at fault for the fatal crash. Wade was reportedly walking across a six-lane highway when he was hit, and his death was ruled accidental. A toxicology report later showed that he had meth and PCP in his system. And while the investigator for the coroner’s office didn’t find an ID at the scene, he did find a bottle of prescription medication that he was able to use to identify Dexter. He was also able to find contact information for next of kin and claims he called Bettersen on March 8, but she says she doesn’t remember receiving the call.
The next day, Dexter’s identity was confirmed when his fingerprints matched the ones they had on file. The investigator claims that he then gave Bettersen’s phone number and address to the department’s accident investigation squad so they could let her know what happened. Except no one ever did. Every time she called the missing persons investigators, they told her they had no updates. Not until a new investigator took over the case. Eleven days later, the new investigator called Bettersen to tell her she’d found Dexter and that an officer would be coming to speak with her in person.
It’s a tragic story, and so far, no one has been able to explain why it took so long for the Jackson Police Department to notify Dexter’s family of his death despite having the necessary information. And while it’s a depressing read, we do encourage you to read the entire thing over on NBC News.
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