Watch CBS News

Dexter Wade's mom seeks federal probe after he's killed by Mississippi police car, buried without her knowing

Police accused of cover-up in man's death
Family asks DOJ to investigate Mississippi man's death after police accused of cover-up 05:09

The family of a man who was fatally struck by an off-duty police officer's SUV — then buried without their knowledge — is calling for a federal investigation.

Dexter Wade, 37, was killed on March 5, according to his death certificate, less than an hour after he left home following an argument. Despite his mother, Bettersten Wade, reporting him missing to the Jackson Police Department in Mississippi days later, she said she wasn't informed of his death until Aug. 24, nearly six months after he died.

"He just disappeared off the face of the Earth and nobody knew where he was. None of his friends, nobody," Wade said. 

"All the time, he was right down there in the morgue. All they had to say was, 'Ms. Wade, your son is in the morgue,'" she said.

Dexter had been buried — without her knowing — in a cemetery outside a county prison. His grave was marked only by a number.

According to the coroner's office, Dexter was identified using prescription medication he was carrying, and next of kin information was sourced from a medical clinic. According to Wade, the coroner was unable to reach her, but she was told Jackson police tried to contact her several times. Wade said she never received a call. 

"Give me a reason, why y'all did not contact me, why y'all did not knock on my door," she said. 

Wade said she filed a missing person report with the Jackson Police Department in March after her son was missing for more than a week. She said she spent months following up and searching the city, and even asked for help online.

Chokwe Antar Lumumba, the mayor of Jackson, said there was a lack of communication between the missing person's division, the coroner's office and accident investigators.

"It was in fact an accident and there was no malicious intent," Lumumba said during a press conference last week.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the Wade family, said he plans to petition the court to have his body exhumed and have an independent autopsy performed, "and then give him a proper funeral for his mother and his daughters and his family." Crump, who has also represented the families of Tyre Nichols, Malcolm X, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others, said he hopes to have the body exhumed next week. 

CBS News reached out to the Jackson Police Department but did not hear back. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.