Woman Arrested in Connection With Quawan 'Bobby' Charles Disappearance and Death, Authorities Say

Janet Irvin is being held at the Iberia Parish Jail, the sheriff said.
Bail has not been set for Janet Irvin, according to the Iberia Parish sheriff.Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office

The Louisiana woman is believed to be one of the last people to see 15-year-old Quawan “Bobby” Charles alive, authorities said.

A 37-year-old Louisiana woman has been arrested in connection with the disappearance and death of 15-year-old Quawan "Bobby" Charles, whose body was found in sugar cane field three months ago, according to authorities.

Janet Irvin was arrested Tuesday on a felony count of failing to report a missing child and a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, said Iberia Parish Sheriff Tommy Romero said in a statement. 

“I’m confident that my office has put together an extremely strong case against Mrs. Irvin,” Romero said. “Immediately upon the arrest, I personally spoke with the parents of Quawan Charles. I hope this arrest begins to help their family heal, and by no means is this case closed.”

Additional arrests may follow, he added.

Attorneys for the Charles family said the arrest was three months late.

"Although we are celebrating the fact that this is a big step in the right direction as to getting justice for Quawan and getting answers for the family, justice is never too late. However, we believe that probable cause existed long before they arrested Janet Irvin on these charges,” said Ron Haley, one of several lawyers representing the boy's relatives.

The family filed a missing person report Oct. 30 in the St. Mary Parish town of Baldwin, where Quawan lived with his father. The teen's body — which an autopsy report described as unclothed — was found Nov. 3 about 20 miles away in a swampy sugar cane in wood near the Iberia Parish town of Loreauville.

Irvin and her teenage son are believed to be the last people to see Quawan alive, authorities said. Investigators earlier released surveillance camera footage they said showed the teen getting into Irvin's car on the day he was reported missing, accompanied by his friend, who is Irvin's son.

The woman later told investigators that Quawan had wandered away from her home, according to authorities. Her son said he had smoked pot with Quawan, investigators said.

The teen's death has been ruled a homicide by the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, but the circumstances surrounding his drowning remain unclear.

In December, "CBS This Morning" reported obtaining exclusive audio in which the woman who picked up Quawan 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. 

Two autopsies, one obtained by the family and the other conducted by the Iberia Parish Coroner's Office, found trace amounts of alcohol and THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, in his blood.

Earlier this week, the Charles family attorneys disclosed the findings of the coroner's autopsy, which suggested the teen might have drowned himself during a psychotic episode possibly brought on by marijuana.

The lawyers said that claim was ridiculous.

“They say suicide by drowning, although they happen, they are rare. You add that to the fact that he allegedly drowned in ... two feet of water, it kind of makes the idea that he killed himself in that manner not plausible,” Haley said, KLFY-TV reported.