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Family's Autopsy Of Quawan “Bobby” Charles Appears To Show Drowning Death

“Our crusade for Quawan 'Bobby' Charles and his family will continue until justice is served," the family's lawyers said this week.

By Dorian Geiger
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An independent autopsy commissioned by the family of Quawan “Bobby” Charles appears to confirm that the Louisiana teenager drowned, as the investigation into his death continues and questions remain about the police response to his disappearance. 

The second autopsy, authored by American Forensics, appears to be consistent with earlier findings released by the local coroner that concluded the 15-year-old had likely drowned in late October, the Lafayette Daily Advertiser reported. The new report also found no evidence of pre-death trauma. The manner of death is “pending,” according to Lafayette television station KATC

“Our crusade for Quawan 'Bobby' Charles and his family will continue until justice is served," the family's legal team said in a statement this week, ABC News reported.

A toxicology screening wasn’t included in the preliminary findings of the independent autopsy. A final report will be issued once additional investigative information becomes available, according to the Daily Advertiser.

Charles vanished after leaving his father’s home on Oct. 30. The boy’s family said that he was picked up without his family’s permission by a white 17-year-old friend and his mother. However, Charles’ peer later told investigators he left their home on his own accord. 

On Nov. 3, Charles’ body was discovered in a cane field near the village of Loreauville. Surveillance footage captured him near the location where his body was recovered, where he appeared to be alone, authorities said. The case is actively being investigated as a homicide by the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.

“Regardless of the findings of the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office report, this investigation continues,” sheriff’s office spokesperson Katherine Breux told Oxygen.com. “The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office will exhaust every avenue — this case is our highest priority."

No arrests have been made in Charles’ death. Breaux declined to comment on the newly-released findings in the family-commissioned autopsy.

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The Charles family accused law enforcement of not taking the case of their missing boy seriously, alleging racial bias in the investigation’s early phases. Baldwin Police first told the Charles family that the teenager was possibly watching a football game after learning he had vanished, according to the New York Times. No Amber Alert was issued.

"A child was taken from, or last taken from, his parents' home without permission, and they report it to the police, and that's somehow not priority No. 1," Ron Haley, the family’s lawyer, previously told PEOPLE.com. "That's mind-boggling to me."

From the onset of the investigation, the teen’s family was suspicious of claims he drowned, pointing to a graphic post-mortem image of Charles, shared by relatives online, which showed significant facial trauma.

“His face says different,” Celina Charles told the Washington Post. “The people needed to see what he was looking like.”

However, the apparent gashes were likely caused by an “aquatic animal” or during the “autopsy procedure,” according to the preliminary findings released by the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office.

County authorities have denied the family’s accusations surrounding racial prejudice. 

Since his death, a number of activists have taken to the streets in Louisiana demanding transparency in the investigation into Charles’ death. The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana has also demanded a “full, independent investigation” into the death. 

Anyone with information related to the teen’s disappearance and death is asked to call Detective Jarred Spurlock of the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-369-3711

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