Quawan 'Bobby' Charles Toxicology Report Sheds New Light on the Teen's Mysterious Death, Lawyers Say

Quawan "Bobby" Charles was found facedown in a Louisiana sugar cane field.
The body of Quawan "Bobby" Charles was found facedown in a Louisiana sugar cane field.Handouts

The drowning death of Quawan "Bobby" Charles has been ruled a homicide. His family's lawyers say a new, independent toxicology report sheds light on his mysterious death.

New light has been shed on the mysterious death of Quawan "Bobby" Charles, a 15-year-old Louisiana boy whose body was found facedown in a sugar cane field, according to lawyers for his family.

Charles had been reported missing Oct. 30. His remains were found on Nov. 3, more than 20 miles away from his father's home, where he was last seen by relatives. The teen's death has been ruled a homicide by the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, but the circumstances surrounding his drowning remain unclear.

Independent toxicology reports obtained by the family's attorneys showed small traces of marijuana and alcohol in Charles' system, refuting alleged claims that he was high on hallucinogens at the time of his death, the lawyers said in a statement released this week.

The toxicology report showed trace amounts of THC and ethanol, but no other chemicals, the attorneys said.

"This likely proves that Quawan’s death was not the result of an accident or gross negligence, but intentional," the statement said.

Charles left his father's home without permission on Oct. 30, his family has said. Surveillance video later released by authorities appeared to show Charles getting into the car with a friend and the friend’s mother that day. 

The woman and her son said Charles had walked off later that day. Officers have said they questioned the two, but no arrests have been made. Authorities also have said video evidence obtained by investigators showed the teen walking alone in the area where his body was found.

Family attorneys say Charles could not have drowned in the field, where they water was only ankle deep, without "human intervention."

In December, "CBS This Morning" reported obtaining exclusive audio in which the woman who picked up Charles at his father's home reportedly expresses regret for not quickly reporting his disappearance from her home.

"Yes, I should have called the cops. I should have went further," the woman is heard saying, the network reported. "I get off of work at like noon, Friday. So, we go out to Baldwin. We pick him up," she reportedly says. Later, she acknowledges not contacting authorities for several days, "CBS This Morning" reported. 

The recorded conversation was between a private investigator and the woman, the network said. In a separate interview, the woman's 17-year-son acknowledges smoking pot with Charles, according to CBS.

Attorneys for Charles' family also contend that the woman told investigators the teen had been taking hallucinogens, which may have been the reason he wandered away from her home.

A private autopsy commissioned by the family preliminarily found the teen likely drowned, in keeping with initial findings from the local medical examiner's office.

The Iberia Parish Coroner's Office has released initial autopsy results, saying the cause of death was likely drowning, citing fluid found in the boy's lungs. Damage to Charles' face, which appeared to be partially eaten away, did not occur before his death and was probably caused by "aquatic animal activity” in the marshy sugar cane field where his body was found, the autopsy found.

An Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman said Tuesday the homicide investigation is ongoing and the department is awaiting official toxicology reports from the autopsy.

"An arrest will not be made until all evidence has been gathered, including the toxicology," said Katherine Breaux, The Acadian Advocate reported. "We want this to be solved and turned over to the district attorney's office just as much as the family does."