While Bettersten Wade pleaded for help finding her missing son, preparations were being made to bury Dexter Wade in a pauper’s field at a Mississippi penal farm, NBC News reported.
Whether due to an oversight, or, as Bettersten Wade wondered, a vendetta, the Jackson woman did not know the fate of her son for seven months. Authorities knew what happened to the father of two teen daughters.
Jackson police did not respond to the outlet’s request for comment.
Bettersten Wade and her son got into an argument and he ran off with a friend.
She said she was reluctant to report her son missing to police because her brother was killed by a Jackson police officer who was convicted of manslaughter. The officer is appealing.
On March 14, she reported him missing and called police for updates but was told there was no new information.
Police, however, did know his whereabouts, according to NBC News.
He died the same day he argued with his mother, struck by an off-duty police officer along an interstate.
The corporal reported the incident to police, who did not suspect the corporal was intoxicated and did not test his sobriety.
Wade’s death was ruled an accident.
The coroner said he called Bettersten Wade three days later but had to leave a voicemail.
She told NBC News that the number the coroner called was correct but she did not recall receiving the message and couldn’t access cell phone records to verify the call.
The coroner said it was the department’s jurisdiction to do “proper death notification.”
Meanwhile, Bettersten Wade turned to social media for help bringing her son home.
The corner followed up with police two weeks later. After being told there was no progress, asked for approval to bury him in a pauper’s field at the Hinds County penal farm.
The request was approved on April 3, according to the coroner’s notes reviewed by NBC News. On July 14, Dexter Wade was buried in the pauper’s field after no family claimed him.
In August, police told Bettersten Wade in person about the accident.
She wondered whether her brother’s death at the hands of a Jackson officer factored into why the information about her son was withheld from her.