In October, we reported on the tragic and egregious story of Dexter Wade. His mother, Bettersten Wade, had lost contact with the 37-year-old and wasn’t informed that he was killed after being hit by a police car until several months after the fact.
Dexter was buried in an unmarked grave without his family’s knowledge or consent shortly after his killing. Now as it turns out, Dexter and his family weren’t the only victims of the cruel negligence that denies loved ones the right to mourn and lay to rest family members shortly after they have passed.
Famed civil attorney Ben Crump recently announced that he’s representing the families of two other deceased people besides Dexter, who were also buried without their families knowing—and in the same damn pauper’s field, no less.
According to the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, 40-year-old Marrio Moore and 39-year-old Jonathan Hankins were buried without the knowledge of their families in Hinds County Pauper’s Field, the same burial ground where Dexter was buried for 172 days before Bettersten had a clue what had happened to him.
“People all across America are scratching their heads in disbelief about what’s happening in Jackson, Mississippi, with this paupers graveyard,” Crump said during a news conference Wednesday. “It went from talking about the water to now we’re talking about the graveyard, what is going on in Jackson, Mississippi?”
Crump was joined by members of all of the victims’ families as well as attorney Dennis Sweet, who is also representing them.
Along with Crump and U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, Sweet is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whatever the hell is going on in Jackson that results in people being buried without anyone who loves them knowing where or why.
“Jackson, we can do better. We can do better,” Sweet said. “You’re going to hear from these families, they’re going to tell you their stories … they’re citizens, their children were citizens. We can do better.”
The Clarion-Ledger reports that Moore, another Black man, was killed via blunt force trauma on February 2 of this year. According to his mother, Mary Moore Glenn, it took eight months for the family to be notified. Glenn, who said her son was struck 22 times, wrapped up in a tarp, and left on the street, said after finally finding out what happened to Moore, she had to pay $250 to get her son’s death certificate from Hinds County. Incidentally, $250 is the same amount Bettersten Wade said she had to pay the coroner’s office just to claim Dexter Wade’s body.
“We had to buy him back from the state,” Glen said of her son. “When I went to try to get a death certificate for him I couldn’t get one because he was in the state’s property … me and my family, we don’t deserve that.”
“They got him and just threw him in a hole like he wasn’t anybody, like he wasn’t important,” she continued.
Hankins’ case is somehow even more confounding. According to his mother Gretchen Hankins, he was first reported missing in June 2022. It took until December 4, one year and seven months later. Gretchen said she last saw her son on May 20, 2022. He was killed on May 23, 2022.
From the Ledger:
His body was found in a hotel room in Jackson. This must have meant he had identification on him, Gretchen said, because you can’t check into a hotel room without an ID.
Gretchen said his body was identified and a picture of Hankins was shown on TV as a missing person. Still, law enforcement did not reach out or come to her house to her to tell her they had position of her son’s body.
“How could they (law enforcement) do that? What if someone did that to their children?” she said.
Gretchen said she has been unable to retrieve a death certificate for her son. If and when she does, she’ll also have to pay that absurd $250 fee.
One time was unjustifiably horrible enough. The fact that this has happened at least three times that we know of is—honestly, there’s really no word for it.
“How many more? We need justice. We need accountability. We need some answers,” Bettersten shouted during the news conference.
“How many more?”
That’s arguably the most important question to ask. No family deserves this. No victim deserves this. So, how many more are suffering and still left in the dark? And when will it end?