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A Louisiana mother has been arrested on a pair of charges in connection with 15-year-old Quawan Charles’ drowning death last year.
Janet Irvin, 37, was taken into custody on Tuesday, according to the Iberia County Sheriff’s Office. She was charged with failure to report a missing child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
“I’m confident that my office has put together an extremely strong case against Mrs. Irvin,” Iberia Parish Sheriff Tommy Romero said, KLFY-TV reported. “Immediately upon the arrest, I personally spoke with the parents of Quawan Charles. I hope this arrest begins to help their family heal, and by no means is this case closed.”
Charles vanished on Oct. 30, 2020 after he reportedly smoked marijuana with Irvin’s son at her home. Irvin said Charles let their home alone that night and that was the last she'd seen of him. The dead teenager’s parents have maintained the Irvins’ picked Charles up without their knowledge or permission, according to the Washington Post.
“Although we are celebrating the fact that this is a big step in the right direction as to getting justice for Quawan and getting answers for the family, justice is never too late,” Ron Haley, an lawyer for Charles’ family, also said.
Charles’ body was found in a drainage ditch near the village of Loreauville on Nov. 3. Two separate autopsies concluded he’d died by drowning.
Irvin previously told a private investigator she regretted not immediately phoning authorities after Charles left her home last year.
“Yes, I should have called the cops,” Irvin said in leaked audio of the conversation, which CBS News obtained. “I should have went further.”
Toxicology results confirmed trace amounts of marijuana and alcohol were present in the 15-year-old’s system at his time of death. Irvin’s son also confessed to the private eye that he and Charles had “smoked some weed” together.
“We learned early on in our investigation the potential use of drugs and alcohol at her residence,” Haley added. “Early on we knew these things, but we are happy that she’s being held accountable somewhat for her role in this.”
Charles’ family had initially accused local authorities of racial bias in the slow-moving investigation, particularly after graphic post-mortem pictures of the teen’s disfigured face surfaced.
The investigation into Charles’ death is ongoing. Authorities suggested more arrests may be forthcoming.
“I think those who are responsible for his death, those who are directly responsible for his cover-up have to be nervous,” Haley said. “They have to be nervous. Does Janet know more than what she does know? The fact that she has been arrested, does that mean she’s going to talk more? What information is going to come out from this arrest?”
Irvin is being held at an Iberia County detention center, online jail records show. Her bond was set at $400,000 on Wednesday, according to KLFY-TV.
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