Janet Irvin Loreauville Louisiana woman arrested in connection to drowning death of Quawan Charles black teen found naked in ankle deep water in a local sugar field near her home.
Was a missing black teen boy’s death late last year the result of foul play? And was his abrupt disappearance dismissed by authorities because he was black? How did the youth come to end up drowning naked, face down in ankle deep water?
Janet Irvin, 37, faces charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and failure to report a missing child, according to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office. The woman is thought to be the last person who saw the ‘quiet’ boy alive.
Police arrested Irvin following the release of Quawan’s toxicology report to the family earlier this week.
The Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office didn’t include the specifics of the results in its report, but the family shared the results with ABC 3.
How did black teen boy end up at Irvin’s trailer home?
According to the toxicology report, Quawan had alcohol, THC, and metabolites in his system. The autopsy stated that Quawan had no external injuries, aside from animals and insects who bit off portions of the boy’s face. There were no bruises, abrasions, or broken bones, the autopsy stated.
Irvin’s arrest on Tuesday follows the Loreauville woman having an extensive arrest record that includes drug-related charges as well as burglary and receiving stolen property according to a previous report.
The woman according to the report in 2010, lost custody to her two of her three children as a result of being accused of neglect and domestic violence.
The 15-year-old afflicted with dyslexia, was allegedly picked up outside of his father’s Baldwin, Louisiana, home on October 30 by two people, who Charles’ family identified as Irvin and her 17-year-old son. Charles’ parents said that at the time, they didn’t know the woman or her son and never consented to their 15 year old son leaving with them.
Police had previously released a video showing the moment they said Charles voluntarily left his home with the two people. Charles’ parents continued to contest those claims, arguing the boy was kidnapped.
The family accused police of dismissing their concerns when they first reported Charles missing, with authorities speculating the boy was at a football game. Police said in a statement Tuesday that they were not notified of Charles’ disappearance until the afternoon of November 3. Charles was found dead later that night in a drainage ditch at a sugar cane field in Loreauville, 30 minutes from his home.
Attorneys for Charles’ family told CBS News in December that they had obtained an audio recording in which a woman they say is Irvin, admitting to not calling police after ‘he ran away from her home.’
Why did Loreauville woman fail to reach out to authorities?
‘Yes, I should have called the cops. I should have went further,’ a woman can be heard saying on the recording.
The family also alleged that Irvin’s son told a private investigator that he and Charles did drugs at Irvin’s home.
‘Did he smoke something, or did he, I mean…?’ the investigator can be heard asking.
‘Yeah, he smoked some weed. That was it,’ the son replied.
Attorneys for the Charles family, Ronald Haley and Chase Trichell, previously claimed there was enough evidence to arrest Irvin on ‘a slew of charges.’ It was their private investigator who recorded the conversation.
‘She knew something was wrong and did nothing,’ Haley told CBS News in December. ‘It speaks volumes as to what her involvement was in this case.’
What if Quawan was a missing white boy?
The sheriff’s office said at the time that it did not know about the recording, and the information was not shared.
Black justice group, ‘Stand Black’ called Irvin’s arrest a step toward justice, according to KLFY-TV.
‘Today is a starting point, but this is a marathon and not a sprint,’ said Stand Black co-founder Jamal Taylor. ‘Now we must mobilize to change laws that protect against these sorts of atrocities. We must pass legislation that protects children, and laws that reform police accountability.’
In October, Charles’ family said they believed police didn’t take his disappearance seriously because he was Black. There was no Amber Alert after he was reported missing, while police maintain that ‘all procedures were followed.’
In an earlier interview with KLFY, Baldwin assistant police Chief Samuel Wise said there was no evidence that Charles was abducted or that an Amber Alert was necessary.
The coroner’s office at the time had said the teen likely drowned and had no injuries before his death. They also ruled the wounds on his face happened after his death and were likely caused by aquatic animals.
Further arrests? Further charges?
On February 5, a forensic autopsy report indicated that there were no signs of a struggle prior to Charles’ drowning, but it stopped short of declaring how he drowned. ‘It is possible that the decedent was hallucinating due to psychosis, which led to disorientation which led to an accidental drowning,’ the autopsy report said. ‘The alleged circumstance of saying he was going to kill himself, and the lack of injuries, suggests suicide may be the manner of death.’
But in a statement responding to that report, attorneys for Charles’ family said that the only ‘reasonable conclusion’ is that Charles’ death was a homicide. ‘The only rational, glaringly obvious conclusion here is that there was foul play at work here,’ the statement read.
Irvin remains at the Iberia Parish jail, and no bond has been set. Police said the investigation into Charles’ death continues and more arrests may come.