A Mississippi mother wants answers after learning that her son was fatally run over by a police officer and buried in a pauper’s graveyard. She made the discovery about seven months after Dexter Wade, 37, went missing.
Bettersten Wade, the mother, says that she last saw her son on March 5 after he left her house with a friend.
According to NBC News, Bettersten eventually reported him missing to the Jackson Police Department on March 14 after days passed without hearing from him. Bettersten says that an investigator took her statement. She followed up by sending that investigator and another investigator photos of her son — requesting that they put his picture on television.
The mother told the outlet she kept in regular touch with the police — asking for updates. However, every time she called, she alleges law enforcement officials told her they had no information. This was ultimately untrue.
Mother Finally Learns What Happened To Her 37-Year-Old Son
Bettersten eventually learned that Dexter died while walking across Interstate 55. An off-duty officer struck him while driving a Jackson PD SUV. The collision reportedly occurred an hour after Dexter left his mother’s house on March 5.
After reporting the accident, the driver was not subjected to field sobriety tests or cited for traffic violations, per NBC. Ultimately, Dexter’s death was ruled accidental despite severe injuries to his head from the collision.
Dexter was reportedly without identification when he died. However, a Hinds County Coroner’s Office investigator, LaGrand Elliott, reportedly discovered a prescription pill bottle in Dexter’s pocket. The final toxicology report claims the victim had PCP and methamphetamine in his system.
Elliott was able to verify Dexter’s identity and his next of kin before eventually forwarding the information to the Jackson Police Department on March 9. However, despite knowing Dexter’s identity and family phone number and address, the mother alleges that Jackson Police failed to contact her.
“Once we get that information, I turn it over to police because it is their jurisdiction so that they can do the proper death notification,” Elliott reportedly told NBC.
Instead, Jackson PD allegedly let Dexter’s body go unclaimed for months in the county morgue.
Coroner Reveals Reaching Out Multiple Times To Jackson Police About Dexter Wade’s Next Of Kin
Elliott reportedly checked in with Jackson PD on March 30 about next of kin and was allegedly told there were no updates.
In response, the coroner’s office requested approval on March 31 to bury the 37-year-old in a pauper’s field at the Hinds County penal farm. The Hinds County Board of Supervisors approved the request on April 3. The coroner investigator, Elliott, reportedly reached out to Jackson PD two more times after that — in May and June. He alleges Jackson PD gave him the same “no contact with next of kin” update.
The county finally buried Wade in the pauper’s graveyard on July 14, next to other unclaimed bodies. His mother didn’t learn details about his death until a new investigator took over the case in August.
Ultimately, she paid the $250 fee to claim her son’s body. Still, she waited weeks to learn his burial place. In early October, she finally visited his temporary resting place, plot No. 672.
Unfortunately, this isn’t Bettersten’s first tragic encounter with Jackson PD. In 2019, her 62-year-old brother died after former Jackson officer Anthony Fox slammed him to the ground during an arrest. The brother, George Robinson, suffered a fatal head injury. Fox was convicted of manslaughter but is currently appealing, per NBC.
While speaking to NBC, Bettersten said she can’t help but wonder if her son’s death had anything to do with her brother’s and the allegations she made against the police in that case.
“Maybe it was a vendetta. Maybe they buried my son to get back at me,” the mother said.
The mother is now raising money to give her son a proper burial.