American Idol contestant Savion Wright recently sang a song on the show and was a young man grieving. But, two weeks earlier, his older brother, Alfred, was found dead in the piney woods of Hemphill, Texas. But was his death a drug overdose as the coroner determined or was it actually murder?
Alfred was a physical therapist. He married his childhood sweetheart, Lauren and they had three sons, two together and one from a previous relationship of Alfred's.
Lauren said, “My children ask questions that I’m not able to give or provide an answer to.”
Alfred was driving on a narrow backroad on the way to treat a patient when his truck overheated. He stopped at a roadside grocery store and called his wife for help.
She sent frantic texts, “Trying to get to you please answer the phone," "I am so worried about you answer me," "Your parents are at your truck trying to get to you.”
Alfred never answered.
His father, Douglas, a pastor, says the store clerk told him Alfred had run away from the store. Despite the presence of surveillance cameras at the store, the video from that day is missing.
Sheriff's deputies searched for four days and found nothing. That's when Alfred Wright’s family decided to hire a private investigator and mount its own search.
Eighteen days later, the decomposing body was found.
Alfred’s body was semi-naked. His throat was slashed, his tongue ripped out, his eyes gouged out, and several teeth were missing. Are those hallmarks of a racially motivated murder?
The coroner's report says it wasn't a murder at all. Alfred had overdosed on "cocaine and meth,” and that "animals and insects" had mutilated the body, which is something the family and private investigator Chuck Foreman don't buy.
Foreman said, “Either this was the worst investigated case in the history of Texas or it was a cover-up. Everything looked staged to me.”
So, why would anyone want to kill Alfred?
Credit card records show Alfred checked in numerous times at a Holiday Inn. According to published reports, he was romantically involved with the Sheriff's daughter, something both the sheriff and Alfred’s own family deny.
Lauren said, “I really don't believe my husband was having an affair with anybody.”
People in their hometown of Jasper, Texas, are demanding answers and are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene.
Alfred’s mother, Rosalind said, “We will not let it rest. There will be justice for Alfred Wright.”
Last Saturday would have been Alfred’s 29th birthday. His family held a party in his honor. It was a bittersweet celebration of a life cut too short, and a mystery that won't yet go away.