Dexter Wade, 37, reportedly went missing after March 5. It was the last time his mother, Bettersten Wade, had seen him. For months after reporting him missing to the Jackson Police Department, officials gave her no updates on her son’s whereabouts. Turns out, he was struck and killed by an off-duty police officer in a cruiser.
NBC News reports that the medical examiner made multiple requests to Jackson PD regarding locating Wade’s family. With no updates from police, Wade’s body ended up unclaimed and buried in a pauper’s grave.
Now, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is giving the public an update on the breakdown in communication. However, despite his mother’s insinuation of foul play, the Jackson, Mississippi, mayor says that wasn’t the case, per PEOPLE.
“…At no point have we identified, or did any investigation reveal, that there was any police misconduct in this process and that there was any malicious intent,” the mayor said in his annual State of the City speech.
Though Lumumba noted the death was “unfortunate and tragic,” the mayor said the incident was a “lack of communication” between departments. He named the missing person’s division, coroner’s office, and accident investigation.
“It is tragic to lose your child. It is tragic to suffer the consequences of having to bury your child before you pass. But to add insult to that trauma, it is even more difficult to not have the ability to have a proper burial for your child,” the Jackson mayor said, per NBC. “And for that, we regret a circumstance that Mr. Wade’s family has had to deal with.”
See the mayor’s full comments below.
Dexter Wade’s Mom Previously Suggested Jackson PD Has A “Vendetta” Against Her
The mayor’s comments came just one day after NBC first reported the story. Wade’s mother, Bettersten, told NBC this isn’t her family’s first run-in with Jackson PD.
She reportedly has a lawsuit pending in state court, accusing Jackson PD officers of using fatal excessive force during the 2019 arrest of her brother. Former cop Anthony Fox caused George Robinson to suffer a head injury by slamming the 62-year-old into the ground.
In her interview with NBC, released last Wednesday (Oct. 26), Bettersten says she wonders if the death and the handling of her son’s body was “a vendetta.” She suggested that the county “buried [her] son to get back at [her.]”
According to reviewed docs and interviews by the outlet, the medical examiner reached out to the Jackson PD at least four times between March and June. However, he was reportedly told there were no updates on Wade’s next of kin. Eventually, the county gave approval to bury Dexter Wade in July in a pauper’s graveyard.
His mother finally gained access to his burial space in October after learning the alleged truth behind her son’s death in August.
“We are just ordinary people that love our children and take care of our children,” Wade’s aunt Ernestine Wilson told WLBT. “Just give us some kind of justice in this.”
Jackson Director of Communications Melissa Payne reiterated in a statement to WLBT that their investigation found “no malicious intent by any Jackson police staff” in the incident.