Janet Irvin was arrested in connection with Quawan Charles Death

Beware Quawan Charles.
Photo: NurPhoto / NurPhoto with Getty Images

Police in Iberia Parish, Louisiana, arrested the death of Quawan Charles, the death of a 15-year-old man whose body was found in a sugarcane field in November. The local sheriff’s office reportedly booked Janet Irvin for her juvenile delinquency and failure to report the missing child. He was among the last people to see Quawan alive.

In a statement announcing his arrest, Sheriff Thomas S. Romero said he was “confident” that his office had “put together an extremely strong case against Ms. Irvin” and that she then spoke “immediately” to Quawan’s parents. Quawan disappeared on October 30, and his parents believe the authorities acted too slowly when they reported the son’s disappearance. Parish police found his body in a drainage ditch days later, on November 3rd.

According to the teenage family, his face was terribly confused in the post-mortem photographs – “so distorted that his teeth [were] visible outside his mouth, ”quoting Washington Post. The preliminary autopsy referred to the muddy water in Quawan’s lungs, indicating that he “probably” drowned and attributed the wounds to “aquatic animal activity”. But the family suspects that his death may have been racially motivated and that law enforcement would have taken their claims more seriously – they reported to the media and sent an amber alert, which police allegedly did not do if Quawan had not been black.

Ron Haley, the family’s lawyer, told ABC’s local subsidiary that they didn’t know the “exact role [Irvin] played ”in the disappearance of the teenager. The video shows that he and his 17-year-old son, Gavin, pulled up in front of Quawan’s father’s house on October 30 and the three of them drove away. Quawan’s father, Kenneth Jacko, was said to have not been home at the time, but later said that neither he nor his teenage mother had given the Irvins permission to take Quawan.

Gavin initially told police that Quawan abruptly left his house that day without telling him where he was going, and later told private investigators that he “smoked some weeds” before he left. In the recording of the conversation, Janet Irvin allegedly said she “should have gone further” or “called the police” when she realized Quawan had fled her home.

On Monday, Quawan’s family also released the results of an autopsy report by the Louisiana Judicial Center, which lists the cause of death as drowning. The report notes that he allegedly became a “fighter” and threatened to kill himself after taking drugs at Irvins ’home. Quawan was said to have THC and a small amount of alcohol in his system when he died. According to the report, his behavior that afternoon – per witness and per observation recording – indicated that he may have a psychotic episode. According to the report, there were no signs of a fight suggesting murder (although investigators do not rule out this possibility) and his facial injuries are attributed to animals. He also states that “suicide during psychotic episodes is not uncommon and may have occurred here as well,” or Quawan accidentally drowned.

In a statement on the autopsy, the family’s lawyers said it was “blatantly obvious… that there was bad play in the workplace” and asked for the arrest of Janet Irvin. In a phone call a Lawyer, Haley said she hopes it will “shed more light on what happened to Quawan,” adding, “If someone’s son or daughter is in my residence and runs away, saying they’re going to kill themselves, I won’t pick up the phone, and call their parents or the police, what does that say?