ST. MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY) An attorney for Quawan Charles’ family is questioning why Baldwin Police did not notify local media about his disappearance.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the Amber Alert specifically. If State Police has elucidated that not every missing child case leads do an Amber Alert, that is acceptable because there’s another protocol in place called a Level Two Missing Child Protocol. It’s a media advisory. The state police has a database of media outlets, and they disseminate a form to each of those media outlets. Quawan Charles for whatever reason was not treated as a Level Two missing child, even though his case would have been perfect for that,” Chase Trichell, an attorney representing Charles’ family, said.
He says a video Baldwin Police released showing Charles leaving his home with two individuals the day he went missing does little to prove that the police department followed protocol.
“The video was released yesterday as what we believe is some level of absolution from Baldwin P.D. I think that they want to send a message to the public that this was not an abduction. However, let’s look at cases out of St. Mary Parish from 2020, 2019, and recent years,” Trichell said.
Trichell says he’s uncovered missing person cases in St. Mary Parish that were treated much differently than the case involving Quawan Charles.
“You’ve got Jessica Marie Rowe, an adult from Baldwin. You know what they did? They put it on the media. They blasted the story widely. Daniela Colindres, A 17-year-old. They stated she’s not in imminent danger, yet they still put it on the media on the same day, and guess what. She was found the same day. Logan Stevens, a 14-year-old out of St. Mary Parish, they put it on the media. Emma Claire Dugas. Amelia Rubio, a 30-year-old. This list goes on and on,” Trichell added.
He says Charles’ disappearance was never reported to local media.
“Why was Quawan Charles treated differently from all the other children and adults who went missing out of this exact same parish? Explain that to me. The video released yesterday doesn’t explain that problem,” he added.
He says these examples prove St. Mary Parish law enforcement agencies have issued Level Two alerts in the past, even for people who were not abducted.
“Baldwin P.D. came out yesterday and said, ‘Well the reason we didn’t issue an Amber alert is because of this video.’ At the same time, the Baldwin Police Department is admitting that that video did not surface until last week. Quawan had already been missing for two weeks, so the notion that that video validates why they did not treat it as an Amber Alert or a Level Two is disingenuous,” Trichell said.
He says the video has only amplified the fact that Baldwin Police have not been transparent with Charles’ family in their investigation.
“Here’s the thing. No one knows Quawan better than his loved ones. They can contribute to the investigation and at the very least from a basic humanity standpoint, they deserve to get evidence before the public gets that evidence,” he said.
Trichell says the family’s goal is not to create animosity with the police department. They just want to understand.
“We should all be on the same team. The singular goal should be solving the death of Quawan Charles and fixing this so it doesn’t happen again. But hiding behind protocol and hiding behind peace-meal pieces of evidence and videos, that’s not going to get it. We need accountability, and we need changes moving forward,” he told News Ten.
He said there need to be changes in the way police handle missing person cases.
“Why is Quawan Charles different? I’m serious. Why is Quawan Charles different from everybody else who went missing in St. Mary Parish?” Trichell questioned.