Janet Irvin, 37, is facing charges in the disappearance of Quawan “Bobby” Charles, 15, who was found dead in a sugar cane field last November. Investigators say Charles, a Black teen, was last seen with Irvin, who is white, and her 17-year old son.
According to the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office, Irvin is facing charges that include contributing to the delinquency of a minor and failure to report a missing child. Charles’s family said that on Oct. 30 2020, Irvin and her son picked up the teen outside of his father’s home in Baldwin, Louisiana. His parents said they didn’t know Irvin or her son, and they never consented to Charles leaving with them.
These charges come months after the family has been demanding Irvin be charged with Charles’s disappearance. The Charles family says they believe law enforcement didn’t take this case seriously because Charles is Black. Police refused to issue an amber alert when the family reported the teen missing, telling them he was probably at a football game. Officers maintain they followed proper protocol, and there was no evidence to suggest the teen was abducted or that they needed to issue an Amber Alert.
As ESSENCE previously reported, the Iberia Parish coroner listed “the cause of death as ‘likely drowning’ with muddy water in his airways and hyperinflated lungs. The preliminary report indicated he had no injuries before his death and scars and bruising were likely caused by ‘aquatic animals’ while he was in the water.”
“We will continue to fight, we will continue to advocate for Quawan’s family and we will work tirelessly in our pursuit of justice, transparency and accountability,” lawyers for the Charles family said in a statement released on Tuesday, February 9.
A local organization called Stand Black told a CBS affiliate station in Lafayette, Louisiana that filing these charges against Irvin is a step in the right direction. “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.”
Irvin is currently booked at the Iberia Parish Jail, where her bond has been set at $400,000. Police say an investigation into Charles’s death is ongoing and they expect to make more arrests.