The last time Bettersten Wade saw her middle child, Dexter Wade, 37, was on the night of March 5, as he left home with a friend. She reported him missing, and for months police in Jackson, Mississippi, told her they’d been unable to find him. It wasn’t until 172 excruciating days after his disappearance that Bettersten learned the truth: Dexter had been killed less than an hour after he’d left home, struck by a Jackson police car as he crossed a nearby interstate highway. Police had known Dexter’s name, and hers, but failed to contact her — instead letting his body go unclaimed in the county morgue, and then be buried in an unnamed grave in a pauper's field at Hinds County Penal Farm, NBC News reports.
The decision to call the police after Dexter went missing was difficult for Bettersten in the first place. She did not trust them. In 2019, her 62-year-old brother died after a Jackson officer slammed him to the ground. The officer was convicted of manslaughter, but is appealing. Now, Bettersen suspects that the decision to keep the truth about her sons death from her may have been in retaliation for the allegations of the officer involved in her brothers death. “Maybe it was a vendetta. Maybe they buried my son to get back at me,” she said. Bettersten didn't learn the truth until a new missing persons investigator took over her son's case in August, and told her to contact the coroner's office. She paid the coroner a $250 fee to claim Dexter’s body, but it took several more weeks to discover where he was buried. It wasn't until early October she was finally able to visit his grave.