The body of Dexter Wade, the man quietly buried in an unmarked grave after a police officer killed him with a department vehicle, was exhumed hours ahead of schedule without his family present. A coroner hired by the family examined Wade’s body and found his wallet with identification showing his home address. This contradicts authorities’ claims that Wade had no ID when he was killed.
Cops Knew Wade’s Address?
The off-duty cop was driving a Jackson Police Department SUV when he fatally struck Wade in March in Hinds County. Days later, when she hadn’t heard from him, his mother, Bettersten Wade, filed a missing person’s report with the Jackson PD. The woman said she called and talked with department detectives on a daily basis for updates but never received any information about her missing person’s case.
It wasn’t until August, five months later, that she learned that the police department had buried her son in a pauper’s field. Authorities claim Wade was fatally struck while trying to cross a highway. He was killed just hours after leaving the home he shared with his mother.
As NBC News reports:
A Hinds County coroner’s office investigator reported that he did not find identification on Dexter Wade’s body but found his name on a bottle of prescription pills and used that information to confirm who he was within a few days. The investigator said he called a number listed for Bettersten Wade but did not hear back. Bettersten Wade said she has no recollection or record of such a call.
The coroner’s office investigator reported that he also shared Dexter Wade’s information with police. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said last month that Wade was “without identification,” and police were not able to identify him.
The findings about the ID in the wallet suggest that authorities knew all along where he lived, but there is no indication that authorities went to the address before burying Wade.
Body Exhumed Without Family
The news about Wade’s wallet and state ID came on Thursday, November 16. His body was exhumed on Monday after repeated demands for an independent autopsy and a proper funeral. However, officials removed Wade’s body from the pauper’s grave hours before the scheduled time.
USA Today reports:
Civil rights and personal injury attorney Ben Crump told USA TODAY Wade’s mother was notified last week by the attorney for the Hinds County Board the exhumation would be at 11:30 a.m. Monday. The family, along with their attorneys, members of the media and community advocates had planned to attend, but Crump said Wade’s body was exhumed at 8 a.m., hours before the scheduled time and without notice.
“There is no excuse for the way this case has been handled. Every time Ms. Wade takes a step toward getting answers as to what happened to her son, Jackson officials bring her two steps back,” Crump said.
GoFundMe for Funeral
Bettersten Wade launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her son’s funeral.
“Dexter deserved so much more than being buried in a pauper’s field grave for the unknown,” the GoFundMe page states. “He was a beloved son, father, nephew, and community member who deserved to be treated with love and care and given a proper resting place.”
Jackson’s mayor has insisted that there was “no evidence of police misconduct or malicious intent” involved in Dexter Wade’s case, according to Yahoo! News.
However, the publication reported that Bettersten Wade suspected police intentionally mishandled her son’s case in retaliation for a lawsuit she previously filed against the Jackson Police Department. Her brother, 62-year-old George Robinson, died after being physically assaulted by police during a 2019 traffic stop.
“Robinson’s death was ruled a homicide and an officer involved was later convicted of manslaughter, though he is now appealing his conviction,” Yahoo! News reports.