What happened to Rasheem Rayelle Carter? In an incident reminiscent of the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till, family, friends, and supporters of the 25-year-old young, Black man whose dismembered body was discovered in a wooded area a month after he disappeared near Taylorsville, Mississippi, have been left with more questions than answers, four months into an investigation that has yet to release his remains to his family or to explain how he died. His body was discovered on November 2, 2022.
Stating that her son traveled often, founded a successful seafood business as a young entrepreneur and was a hardworking family man who loved his mother, seven-year-old daughter, older brother, and extended family, Tiffany Carter told The Final Call that Rasheem was working as a millwright and a welder in Taylorsville at the time he went missing.
She said that everyone wants to know what happened. He was deeply loved and respected in his community and as of Final Call press time, his body had not been released by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI).
“He was contracted out to Taylorsville, Mississippi, for Georgia Pacific,” Ms. Carter said of her son Rasheem. “A couple of days before he actually had to go to work, his car had broke down, so, one of the guys he had roomed with told him if he got a ride down there, they would make sure he got back and forth to work.”
She also said he was staying at a Super 8 motel in Laurel, Mississippi, about 30 miles from Taylorsville. Taylorsville is a small town in Smith County about 63 miles Southeast of Jackson.
Adding that she was in telephone communication with her son and received brief text messages shortly before he reportedly went missing, Ms. Carter said her son was without transportation the evening before his disappearance and that she doesn’t know how her son’s body would end up in the woods, hundreds of feet off a nearby highway. According to worldpopulationreview.com, the town has a rapidly declining population estimated in 2022 around 1,100, of whom about 400 or fewer are Black.
Ms. Carter said she spoke to her son on October 1 and said Rasheem told her his roommate put him out of their motel room and that he went to a local grocery store, sought help from the Taylorsville police station, looked for a place to charge his cellphone, and looked for a place to wait for a ride.
“He told me that someone had called in the store asking if he was in the store (and) that there were three truckloads full of White men trying to harm him,” she said of one of their final phone conversations. She also stated her son believed his boss was allegedly targeting him over a disagreement.
“I told him to go to the police station, and he asked if he could stay there until his ride came, and I heard them when they said he couldn’t stay there,” Ms. Carter said of what she overheard through her son’s cellphone. “After he left the police station, I stayed on the phone with him for a while and he was trying to get a ride back to his hotel room, and then he sent me a text message and said: ‘Mama, I’m smart, and he got these men trying to kill me,’ he texted it to me,” she said.
Ms. Carter was living in Pennsylvania while trying to help her son by phone at the time and told The Final Call that she asked her best friend to pick him up on October 2 and that she didn’t know where he spent the night, but that it had to have been outdoors because he had nowhere to go.
“I told him my best friend, she’s going to come and get you, and he said: ‘My phone is on one percent Mama,’ and I said, well drop your location where you’re at, and I told him my best friend, she’s on her way to come and get you, and when she arrived, maybe about after two hours, he was nowhere to be found,”
Ms. Carter said. Attorney Benjamin Crump has been retained to represent her in seeking answers and the FBI has been reportedly called in to investigate the case. An e-mailed request to the FBI field office in Jackson for a status update was not returned by Final Call press time.
Marquell Bridges, of the Mississippi-based Building Bridges for Community Unity and Progress, told The Final Call that the area where Rasheem Carter went missing is known for its hostility toward Black people and that many from around the area know it as a place to avoid. “Taylorsville, Mississippi, still has active Klan, it’s technically still a sundown town, and all of the Black people around Taylorsville pretty much know:
‘Don’t be caught around there,’ or the Mize area after dark,” he said. “It’s just not safe.” The Taylorsville Police Department told The Final Call that the investigation has been handed over to the Smith County Sheriff’s Department. Calls by The Final Call to the Smith County Sheriff were not returned.
According to interested parties and local activists, Ms. Tiffany Carter and those seeking answers regarding her son’s disappearance and death, have all been put on a “wild goose chase” just to have basic answers over what happened and expressed dismay over what they said is a total lack of transparency.
“We’ve been doing our due diligence in finding out who and what these people are,” Mr. Bridges said, adding that many believe there is a cover-up at least on the local level. “It would explain the police’s unwillingness to investigate or help the family.”
“They had his body for a total of four months, and MBI (Mississippi Bureau of Investigation) has had it for only two, but that’s even enough time,” Mr. Bridges said. “They haven’t let Ms. Tiffany, or the family, see the body.
They had us drive all the way to Jackson telling her they would and would talk to her, then when we get there, they pretended to not have some form that she would have to sign, but the form is digital, and we know that. So, they never intended on showing her the body,” he said.
Others aiding the family include Arthur “Silky Slim” Reed, a community activist and investigator who told The Final Call he has been tasked to look into Rasheem Carter’s disappearance and death. “The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation has stalled this case so long and our thing is we can’t pursue anything civilly until we find out what exactly happened,” Mr. Reed said in a telephone interview. Calls and e-mails to MBI were not returned by Final Call press time.
“In most cases we can say, okay, we will file suit against the police department or we’re going to file suit against this individual … and for the police department there to tell him that they couldn’t keep him safe, and he comes up with his head detached from his body, (and) his limbs are detached, then something horrific happened to him and this is one of those real backwoods cases that hasn’t been able to get the light put on it properly because they keep stalling us with the evidence,”
Mr. Reed said. He also added that no alert has been put out regarding serial killers in the area or murders being at large, and that more questions than answers remain over what happened to Rasheem Rayelle Carter.
“We understand that this wasn’t a serial killer; we understand that this wasn’t just a loose murderer; this was an act of violence by individuals that we believe (Rasheem) informed his mother about,” Mr. Reed insisted. “These are the people he texted his mother about, and they have not been investigated by the police department.” Mr. Reed did not disclose how the condition of the body upon its discovery was made known to him.
Krystal Muhammad, national chair of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, told The Final Call that many Black people across the State of Mississippi neither believe in nor trust the conclusions of the MBI. “Every time these horrific crimes and lynchings take place, who is the cover-up artist?” she asked rhetorically. “The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is a criminal element.
We believe it to be a Ku Klux Klanish element. We can’t say it’s the Ku Klux Klan to be precise, but it is a ‘Ku Klux Klanish’ institution. This has been going on too long, and for them to not even turn over the body to put him to rest? Something has to be done about the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation!” she insisted.
Justice stands afar off in 2023
The Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, addressed the issue of true justice for Black people in America through His Muslim Program, offering it as the best and only solution to America’s centuries-long problem of discrimination and racist oppression, by writing in part: “This is the question asked most frequently by both the Whites and the Blacks. The answers to this question I shall state as simply as possible:
“1. We want freedom. We want a full and complete freedom.
“2. We want justice. Equal justice under the law. We want justice applied equally to all, regardless of creed or class or color.
“3. We want equality of opportunity. We want equal membership in society with the best in civilized society.
“4. We want our people in America whose parents or grandparents were descendants from slaves, to be allowed to establish a separate state or territory of their own — either on this continent or elsewhere. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to provide such land and that the area must be fertile and minerally rich. We believe that our former slave masters are obligated to maintain and supply our needs in this separate territory for the next 20 to 25 years—until we are able to produce and supply our own needs.
“Since we cannot get along with them in peace and equality, after giving them 400 years of our sweat and blood and receiving in return some of the worst treatment human beings have ever experienced, we believe our contributions to this land and the suffering forced upon us by White America, justifies our demand for complete separation in a state or territory of our own,” Messenger Muhammad continued. (See the inside back page of every Final Call newspaper for the full list of “What The Muslims Want” and “What The Muslims Believe.”)
“What can the guilty say when the truth of their guilt is made known?” the Honorable Elijah Muhammad asked on page 102 of his landmark 1965 book, “Message to the Blackman in America.” “I have been teaching for over 35 years what Almighty Allah (God) has revealed to me of the truth of this subject,” he said. “I am sick, tired, and worn out with suffering from the persecutions cast against me and my people by the hands of the most wicked and deceiving race on our planet.”
The National Representative of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, said during his 2015 Saviours’ Day address at Christ Universal Temple in Chicago, that the “Intensifying Universal Cry for Justice,” among the people is bringing in the divine chastisement of Allah (God) and that America is fulfilling prophecy because of its evil toward the Black, Brown, Indigenous and the poor in America and from around the world.
“As it was,” Matthew 24:37 teaches, ‘in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the coming of the Son of Man,’” Minister Farrakhan said.
“Is it like that today? What was it like in the ‘days of Noah?’ The scripture teaches in the Book of Genesis, Chapter 6, verse 5 that ‘every imagination of the peoples’ hearts was to do evil.’ How about America today? A robbery every 15 seconds? A murder every 30 seconds? Murder, robbery, rape and racist killing, and our own fratricidal conflict killing one another: This doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus. It doesn’t have anything to do with Prophet Muhammad,” he said.