Quawan "Bobby" Charles

The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that surveillance video taken near the site where the body of Quawan “Bobby” Charles was found on Nov. 3 shows the teen alone prior to his death with no other persons appearing on the video for some time afterward.

In a press release Saturday afternoon, an IPSO spokeswoman also said that an eyewitness had been interviewed who also reported seeing Charles alone in the area near where his body was found.

“We have obtained and reviewed video evidence showing (Charles) near that area,” the statement read. “Video evidence indicates no other individuals present with (Charles) or anyone else present for some time before, or after, he is seen on the recording.”

In a series of bullet points outlining the IPSO investigation so far, the spokeswoman said investigators have conducted multiple in-person interviews with people who knew Charles and those who may have interacted with him before his death. She said detectives have also gathered evidence at the home of individuals who reportedly were with Charles just before his disappearance and interviewed those individuals. As the investigation progresses, law enforcement officers are actively tracking their whereabouts.

“I want to assure the public that I, and my team, are doing everything we can, and following every lead, to gather evidence into what happened in the untimely death of Quawan ‘Bobby’ Charles,” Iberia Parish Sheriff Tommy Romero said. “Any loss of life is a tragedy and that is especially true when it is a young person. Although we believe it is important not to compromise any part of our investigation, we are prepared to release some details so that the public can be assured we are not resting in our effort to find the truth.”

According to the Iberia Parish Coroner’s Office, Charles probably died from drowning, although the manner of his death is still under investigation. Iberia Parish Coroner Carl Ditch released a report of his preliminary autopsy findings in the death of the Baldwin 15-year-old Friday afternoon. 

The preliminary cause of death is listed as “Likely drowning,” but the manner of that drowning is still undetermined pending further autopsy results, results from toxicology tests and the completion of the IPSO investigation.

In addition to citing muddy water in the teen’s airways, the report said other evidence supporting the cause of death were Charles’ lungs being hyperinflated and water found in his sphenoid sinuses, the area between the eyes behind the nose.

According to the preliminary findings, there were no injuries to Charles prior to his death and no illness or disease found in the autopsy. The report attributes any lacerations to his face visible in images as part of the autopsy process and states that other facial injuries occurred after his death, “likely aquatic animal activity” resulting from Charles’s body being found in water.

A photo of Charles’ body has been circulated on social media sites, sometimes paired with a photo of a lynching victim, making a comparison between the injuries to the two bodies.

Charles’ body was found outside Loreauville on the evening of Nov. 3, hours after family members spoke to Romero about the missing teen. According to family members, he had been reported missing days earlier, on Oct. 30, from his home in Baldwin. 

Although his family reported him missing to both the Baldwin Police and St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office on Oct. 30, apparently no action was taken until the family spoke to the IPSO on Nov. 3.

“We want to remind the public that this is an active, ongoing homicide

investigation," Romero said.  "We urge anyone who has any additional information which might aid our investigation to come forward and contact the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-369-3711.”

Dwayne Fatherree is the community editor for The Daily Iberian. He can be reached at dwayne.fatherree@daily-iberian.com.

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