Mississippi To Revamp How It Notifies Next Of Kin About Deaths After 7 Men Were Buried In Unmarked Graves


In response to recent controversies surrounding the burial of loved ones in unmarked graves without proper notification, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced its intervention to revamp next-of-kin death notifications in Mississippi.

The assistance will be provided to the Jackson Police Department and Hinds County Coroner’s Office under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, aiming to address concerns of discrimination based on race, color, and national origin.

The move follows disturbing incidents where deceased individuals were buried in unmarked graves due to a lack of timely notifications to their families, raising suspicions of racial bias in the process.

The DOJ stated that the initiative does not indicate fault or wrongdoing but aims to ensure transparency and compliance with federal civil rights laws.

U.S. Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division underscored the importance of providing families with timely and trauma-informed death notifications, affirming their right to make decisions about their loved ones’ burials.

The technical assistance will include training and recommendations on improving the process of locating next-of-kin and notifying them of deaths.

The announcement comes in the wake of national scrutiny surrounding the case of Dexter Wade, whose death, burial, and exhumation sparked outrage.

Wade, 37, was struck by an off-duty officer driving a police cruiser, yet authorities failed to notify his family and buried him in a paupers’ grave after leaving his body at the county morgue for months.

The revelation prompted civil rights attorney Ben Crump to call for a DOJ investigation.

Subsequent inquiries revealed similar cases involving Marrio Moore, 40, and Jonathan Hankins, 39, whose families were also left in the dark about their deaths until months later.

The families, represented by Crump and attorney Dennis Sweet, demanded answers and accountability from local authorities.

“How many more? We need justice. We need accountability. We need some answers,” exclaimed Bettersten Wade, Dexter’s mother, echoing the sentiments of many affected families seeking closure and transparency in the wake of these distressing events.