A Mississippi mother has claimed that her son, Dexter Wade, a 37-year-old Black man, was struck by a white police officer’s car while crossing a highway. According to Bettersten Wade, the authorities buried him in a pauper’s grave without informing her for nearly six months.
A prescription bottle discovered at the scene quickly confirmed the identity of Dexter Wade. His mother said she had been persistently reaching out to the police for information.
But, his body remained unclaimed in a morgue for 172 days while his mother tirelessly searched for answers. The 65-year-old woman said the police disclosed the details of his death later and informed her that her son had been laid to rest in a grave meant for those in the penal system, according to the Daily Mail.
The grieving mother was escorted to the burial site, which was unmarked except for a plot number. Overwhelmed with sorrow, she knelt down in anguish and tearfully expressed her remorse, saying, “I’m sorry, baby. I’m so sorry.”
Dexter Wade went missing on March 5 after a dispute with his mother. On the same day, he was allegedly hit and fatally injured by an off-duty officer driving an SUV. The incident was categorized as an accident, and toxicology reports indicated the presence of PCP and methamphetamine in Dexter’s system at the time of his death.
A coroner identified him and claimed to have left a voicemail for Bettersten Wade, although it remains uncertain whether she ever received it. The coroner stated that he provided information to the police for the purpose of notifying the family and issuing the official death notice, but this crucial step was never taken. With nearly ten days passing without any updates, Bettersten Wade took the initiative to report her son as missing to the police.
She was hesitant initially, given that her brother had lost his life at the hands of another Jackson police officer in 2019. The police officer in question was convicted of manslaughter for fatally slamming George Robinson, aged 62, to the ground. He is currently appealing this conviction, while Bettersten Wade’s family has initiated a wrongful death lawsuit that is still awaiting resolution.
In light of these circumstances, Bettersten Wade has raised concerns about whether her son’s tragic death might be connected to a possible “vendetta” against her due to the ongoing legal action.
During the initial days of the search for Dexter Wade, an investigator took an incident report, but there was an initial misspelling of his name. In her determined effort to find her son, Bettersten Wade sent multiple photos of him to the police and turned to social media, posting increasingly desperate pleas on Facebook for assistance in locating him.
For several months, she continued to seek the public’s help in finding Dexter Wade. In a poignant post from July, she expressed her heartbreak, conveying the longing of his children, family members, and friends, saying, “Dexter, your kids miss you, I miss you, and your Grandma, sister, auntie, cousins, and friends miss you. You don’t have to come home, just let us know you’re all right. We love you.”
Candice Thomas, the mother of Dexter Wade’s two daughters, said her daughters’ growing concern about the whereabouts of their father got her worried. The coroner disclosed that they made repeated efforts to contact the police to locate Dexter Wade’s next of kin but were informed of no progress. Ultimately, they sought approval to lay Dexter Wade to rest at the Hinds County Penal Farm, a request that was granted in April, as reported by the Mail.
Bettersten Wade said she only learned of her son’s death in August. She was then reportedly compelled to pay a $250 fee to claim his body. At his gravesite, she tearfully expressed her apologies and love, saying, “Dexter, I want to tell you I am so sorry. I’m so sorry this happened to you. But Mama didn’t know. Mama didn’t know. I always loved you, and I miss you. Farewell, baby. Farewell.”
Bettersten Wade is now seeking to raise $100,000 through a GoFundMe campaign to exhume her son’s body and provide him with a proper funeral.
A spokesperson for Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has stated that the police did not intentionally cause harm to Dexter Wade. They acknowledged that there was miscommunication but emphasized that there was no malicious intent involved in the entire situation.