Sheriff says 'everything is still on the table' to explain Rasheem Carter's death, but insists cops haven't found evidence he was murdered

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Sheriff says 'everything is still on the table' to explain Rasheem Carter's death, but insists cops haven't found evidence he was murdered
Rasheem Carter.Rasheem Carter family handout
  • A Mississippi sheriff said that "everything is still on the table" regarding Rasheem Carter's death.
  • "Anything is possible until we have completed the case," Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston said.
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A Mississippi sheriff said Wednesday that "everything is still on the table" when it comes to the death of Rasheem Carter but insisted that investigators have not yet discovered any evidence pointing to the Black man's family's allegations that he was murdered.

"Anything is possible until we have completed the case, turned over every rock, every leaf, and find every possible answer there is to find," Smith County Sheriff Joel Houston, whose department is handling the investigation into the 25-year-old man's death, told Insider.

Carter, a father from Fayette, Mississippi, was reported missing by his mother to police in Laurel, Mississippi, on October 2, 2022. Carter's mom told police that before her son went missing, he warned her in a phone call that he was being chased by white men in trucks.

A month later, Carter's remains were found in a wooded area just south of Taylorsville, Mississippi.

Carter's family has alleged that he was viciously killed and that his death was a modern-day "lynching" and called for a federal investigation.

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The family's attorney, Ben Crump, told reporters this week that an independent autopsy revealed that Carter's head was "severed" from his body and that his vertebrae and spinal cord were found in a different location.

"What that tells us is that this was a nefarious act," said Crump. "This was an evil act. Somebody murdered Rasheem Carter. And we can not let them get away with this."

The day after Carter's remains were found, the Smith County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post that it had "no reason to believe foul play was involved" but that the case was still under investigation.

And Houston told Insider on Wednesday that "nothing has changed" since then.

"At the time, we'd already followed up on a bunch of leads," Houston said, adding, "We were already able to exclude a lot of the potential suspects out of why he went missing."

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Houston said there was "no evidence" that suggested foul play when Carter's remains were first found, and "till this date, other than the allegations that are being made from the family, we still don't have evidence of foul play."

The sheriff explained, "At this point, we're just trying to rule out any possibility of anybody being present in his last time alive."

"The evidence we have right now is not showing anybody with him," Houston said, noting that investigators are still waiting on search warrants from technology companies that would help "rule out anybody being with him."

Carter's family has alleged that he was "dismembered," but Houston said that animals could have "very easily" torn apart Carter's body after he died.

A spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety told Insider, "Based solely upon the condition of the remains, there was no means by which a cause of death could be reasonably determined by the Mississippi State Medical Examiner's Office."

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Sheriff says 'everything is still on the table' to explain Rasheem Carter's death, but insists cops haven't found evidence he was murdered
Deer camera footage captured a shirtless Rasheem Carter in the Mississippi woods on October 2, 2022 — the day his mother reported him missing.Ben Crump Law

Still, Carter's mother, Tiffany Carter, told Insider on Wednesday that there was "no doubt" in her mind that someone killed her son.

Rasheem Carter was captured on deer camera footage in the Mississippi woods shirtless and carrying what appears to be a large branch on the day he was reported missing, and his mother said the image shows him is another clue that shows something was "not right."

"When I see that picture, I know my son was somewhere struggling, somewhere, running for his life," she said.

Houston said investigators have reviewed all the deer cam footage from the day he was spotted on it and that it "doesn't show anybody else present."

"He's the only one on the camera," Houston said of Rasheem Carter.

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