Doressia McKee spent two years consistently fighting for the truth about the death of her son, Freddie McKee, per a NBC News report. He died in 2020 in Columbia, Missouri at only 37 years old by an alleged drug overdose. However, with conflicting evidence and swift closure of the case, his mother believed the police failed to properly investigate his death.
According to NBC, Freddie was found dead on his father’s front patio. The initial toxicology report found no trace of drugs, however, it was later updated to reveal Freddie had eutylone (synthetic bath salt), caffeine, nicotine and antidepressants in his system. A medical examiner reported the amount of the synthetic drug concentrated in his body was accurate to those who had died from it, per NBC. Yet, Freddie was also reported to have cuts, bruises and scrapes around his elbows, knees and shoulders.
Doressia McKee said she does not believe her son would have knowingly taken bath salts and questioned why police wouldn’t have wanted to investigate how a drug like that would have come into the community. She said when she spoke with the medical examiner’s office, it told her the scrapes and bruises on his body were not self-inflicted or from an animal but could have been caused by an altercation.
McKee believed there was foul play involved in her son’s death. She took matters into her own hands and filed a complaint against the police department for failing to do a thorough investigation as she noticed inconsistencies between what led to her son’s death and the conclusion of this alleged overdose. Per the Columbia Missourian, his shoes and cellphone were also reported to be missing.
McKee said police failed to interview witnesses and review all the potential evidence and was offended over disparaging remarks she said a detective made to her about residents in the mostly Black and lower-income neighborhood where her son died.
In April 2021, she filed a misconduct complaint with Columbia police in which she laid out why she believes there were flaws with the department’s handling of the case. Six months later, Police Chief Geoff Jones responded in a letter that her allegations were “unfounded” and “misconstrued” but she could appeal to the city’s Citizens Police Review Board.
In McKee’s appeal, she claimed her son may have been dragged on his back and that he also might have been intentionally placed where he was found, reported NBC. She also noted that police didn’t interview witnesses though one neighbor had called the police after encountering Freddie and inquired about what happened after they responded to the call. According to NBC’s report, the detective on the case had filed a restraining order to keep McKee from receiving police records she requested.
Following her appeal, Columbia police agreed to reopen the investigation into the department as well as her son’s death, reported NBC. The rising concerns about police brutality in the Black community seemed to have inspired authorities to make a move on McKee’s demands. Rep. David Tyson said it’s rare that the board would reopen an investigation but it’s a testament to McKee that she didn’t give up, via NBC.
McKee believes if her son were white, they wouldn’t have been so quick to settle on an overdose as his cause of death, per the Columbian Missourian. The investigation is still ongoing but the Citizens Police Review Board’s decision to reopen the case has given hope to McKee and her family.