The Department of Justice is being asked to join a family's fight for truth regarding the mysterious disappearance and death of Alfred Wright, CNN reports.
The 28-year-old Jasper, Texas, father disappeared last November. After the police called off their search, Wright's family took up the cause, launching their own search team.
His family found his remains a few miles from where they reported him missing. The local sheriff has stated that there was no foul play involved in Wright's death, but Wright's family believes that he was murdered.
Last week, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 launched an in-depth three-part report that had investigative reporter Deborah Feyerick shining a national spotlight on the facts surrounding the case. Feyerick reported Thursday night that Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee met with Wright’s family Wednesday for several hours after seeing the show.
Now the Texas congresswoman's chief of staff says they're drafting a letter to the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder and the U.S. attorney in Beaumont, Texas.
"We have no specifics just yet on the kind of investigation or assistance they're going to ask for from the Justice Department," Feyerick reports, "but it would include things, for example, like civil rights violations, hate crimes, public corruption—for example, corruption within law enforcement."
According to KLTV News 7, the East Texas News obtained a copy of the first page of an autopsy report performed on Nov. 26, 2013, and prepared by Dr. John W. Ralston, a forensic pathologist with Forensic Medical Management Services of Texas' Beaumont office. The pathologist listed "combined drug intoxication, including cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamine." Ralston's report also stated that Wright's body had shallow puncture wounds to the abdomen, left thigh, left lower leg and palm of the left hand, KLTV News 7 reports.
The report also stated that there was no evidence of severe trauma.
Wright's family issued a statement via their attorneys not long after the East Texas News published the findings from the autopsy report.
"Prior to Alfred Wright's body being found by family, local members of law enforcement were quick to conclude that no foul play was involved," the press release stated. "Unfortunately, the release of a premature first page of what appears to be an autopsy report is nothing more than a self-serving continuance of that rhetoric. The presence of drugs in Alfred's system fails to explain the very apparent signs of severe trauma found on his body," the press release stated.
Near the end of 2013, the Wright family paid to have a second autopsy done.
Lee Ann Grossberg, a Houston forensic pathologist who performed the procedure, said at a press conference that she disagreed with the preliminary findings from the first autopsy, KLTV News 7 reports. "Based on the investigation, I have a high index of suspicion that this is a homicide," Grossberg said. "I base that opinion on circumstances surrounding the death, how and where the body was found and my findings at autopsy."
Ryan MacLeod, a former Galveston County prosecutor, said that he feels law enforcement has mishandled the investigation. "That young man's body is found about 100 yards from a residence … where a wristwatch was found. It's where a perfectly cut rectangular piece of clothing was found. His clothing is found in a pasture. His body is found right there, and you're telling me there's no signs of foul play?" MacLeod told the news station.