The United States Department of Justice will now open an investigation into the death of Jasper native Alfred Wright.
Sheila Jackson Lee made that announcement late Monday, nearly two weeks after filing a petition with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.
The case had already been handed over from the Sabine County Sheriff’s office to the Texas Rangers, who recently called in the FBI to assist them in their investigation. Jackson Lee’s petition to the Department of Justice highlighted eight points where she believes “overwhelming and credible evidence” was ignored by the Sabine County Sheriff’s initial investigation.
One point questions the decision by investigators to call of the search for Wright after three days, even though they found clothing, his keys and his wallet. Fifteen days after that search was called off, his family conducted their own search, finding him just yards from the initial search command post.
Jackson Lee also cites two contradicting autopsies. The autopsy ordered by local authorities rules out homicide, finding an accidental drug overdose to be the cause of death. Yet one ordered by the family found severe trauma that was “definitely suspicious of homicidal violence.” The second, privately-conducted autopsy has not yet been made final, because photographs from the initial autopsy have not been returned from Sabine County authorities to the second examiner, according to the Wright family.
Wright was unclothed, his neck slit in a straight line, with a missing ear and two missing teeth. The family argues that his body was in too pristine of condition to be exposed to the elements for 18 days.