ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY)- Baldwin police are speaking out for the first time about how they handled Quawan Charles’ missing persons investigation.
“We did not drop the ball. We did everything in our power to help this family,” Baldwin Assistant Chief of Police Samuel Wise said.
When Charles’ mother called the police at 8:04 p.m. on October 30, Baldwin police say they waited no time to search for him.
“We started thinking, started talking, started hitting the streets, started beating the streets initially,” Wise said.
After searching for Charles at local events, police filed a missing person’s report at 10:34 that night into a national database for missing people.
“They did everything by protocol. They did everything by the book,” Wise said.
Wise says he was on vacation when Charles was reported missing but came home on November 2 to help with the investigation. He says officers spoke with people closest to Charles and dug up surveillance footage to track his last movements.
“My officer stayed in touch with the family the whole weekend. The father told me himself that my officer stayed in touch with him the entire weekend trying to locate his kid because we do care,” he added.
Iberia Parish officials say they were not aware of the teen’s disappearance until November 3. That’s when Charles’ family contacted the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Iberia Parish authorities found Charles’ body in Loreauville after pinging his cell phone. His body was found in a field near the home of the family last seen with Charles.
Baldwin police are now facing criticism from Charles’ family as well as on social media.
“Facebook and social media has caused so much within my department. We receive threats every day. We receive emails every day, and some of the guys are wondering are we going to be okay?” Wise told News Ten.
Saturday protesters marched through the streets to the Baldwin Police Department. Protesters chanted “No justice, no peace, no racist police,” and many protesters said police would have taken Charles’ case more seriously if he was white.
“This report, we took it so serious. Not just because it was a 15-year-old black kid, but because it was a 15-year-old kid,” Wise added.
Wise says color did not play a factor into their handling of the case.
“Threats, all that my brothers and sisters, needs to stop. Enough is enough. Enough is enough,” he said. “Baldwin went as far as Baldwin could go with this investigation. The rest of this investigation now belongs with the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office.”
The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office is investigating Charles’ death as a homicide.
They say they have video evidence that shows Charles near the area where his body was found. They say the video indicates that Charles was alone for some time before and after he is seen in the recording.
They are awaiting a toxicology report to gain additional evidence.