Quawan Charles, a Black Louisiana teen who was found dead in a sugar cane field earlier this month, was laid to rest this weekend. The 15-year-old’s funeral took place at the West St. Mary Civic Center in Jeanerette, Louisiana and was open to the public.
"You slowly have brought our family together to support one another, express our true feelings and connect on a more intimate level," Eve Greenberg, Quawan's sister, said Saturday during the funeral. "We will forever hold the memories of you and the memories we wish we could have had with you close to our hearts.”
Quawan went missing on Oct. 30 from his father’s home in Baldwin and his family reported it to police. The Baldwin police took a report about the disappearance, but “gave no indication over the next few days that they were searching for the teen or actively investigating his disappearance,” the Charles’ family attorney told the Washington Post.
Through surveillance footage, it was discovered that Quawan had been seen getting into the car with a friend and his friend’s mother that day. The woman and her son said Quawan had walked off later that day, relatives said. Officers have questioned the two, and no arrests have been made, authorities said.The police department also said video evidence obtained by investigators showed the teen walking alone in the area where his body was found.
On Nov. 3, Quawan’s body was found in a sugarcane field by police about 20 miles from where he had last been seen.
A private autopsy commissioned by the family preliminarily found the teen likely drowned, in keeping with initial findings from the local coroner's office.
The Iberia Parish Coroner's Office earlier this month 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.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff's Department, which is investigating the boy's death, has said it has been classified as a homicide.
“We gathered evidence at the home of individuals who reportedly were with Quawan ‘Bobby’ Charles just before his disappearance. We interviewed these same individuals and are actively tracking their whereabouts,” read a statement from Sheriff Tommy Romero. “We have spoken with at least one eye witness who reportedly saw Quawan ‘Bobby’ Charles before his death in the area near where he was later found deceased.”
Final autopsy results, including toxicology testing, will not be available for weeks, the department said.
And still, Quawan's family is searching for answers and continues to question why an Amber Alert wasn’t issued for him.
In an interview with "Good Morning America,” Quawan's mother, Roxanne Nelson, said she "cannot sleep at night.”
"I'm constantly thinking about my son and trying to figure out exactly how he died," Nelson added. The mother described her son as a "good kid" and "loving child."