She Refused To Give Up On Finding Her Son

white candle on black surface
Zain Murdock
December 20, 2023

It had been 172 days since her son, Dexter, disappeared. But he wasn’t lost. After months of Jackson, Mississippi police telling her they couldn’t find him, Bettersten Wade learned the truth:  Dexter had been hit by a police car less than an hour after the last time she saw him. His ID with Wade’s address was in his pocket. 

They buried him as an “unclaimed body”  on a prison farm.

There’s the violence in killing her son. But there’s also the violence in stringing Wade along - months of grief, desperation, and confusion. But though they exploited her desperation, Wade’s persistence was also her strength.

Wade emailed investigators pictures of Dexter. She asked police for regular updates. She posted on Facebook. Every week, she called around asking if anyone had seen her son, while trying to comfort his teenage daughters. 

Wade even searched abandoned homes, wondering if he had ended up there.

It didn’t matter if police saw Dexter’s humanity. She did. And it wasn’t her first time. Police already had Wade’s information in their system after she filed lawsuits against them for killing her brother in 2019.

“Maybe it was a vendetta,” Wade said. “Maybe they buried my son to get back at me.” 

But despite the police system's deception, Wade knows this truth: that she did everything she could to find her son.

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