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Dau Mabil Family Wants Second Autopsy After Body Found in Pearl River

Fishermen found the body of Dau Mabil, a Jackson, Miss., man whose wife reported him missing in March, in the Pearl River near Monticello, Miss., on April 13, 2024. Mabil’s brother, Bul, suspects foul play in his death but Lawrence County Sheriff Ryan Everett said on April 18, 2024, that an initial autopsy “did not reveal any type of foul play.” Photo by Shaunicy Muhammad

Days after a fisherman found the body of Dau Mabil, a Jackson, Miss., man whose wife reported him missing nearly three weeks ago, his brother is pleading for answers about what led to his death.

“How in the world does someone walk a trail in Jackson, Miss., and end up 60 miles away from where they were walking in broad daylight,” his brother Bul Mabil said at a press conference at Jackson City Hall on April 18.

The fisherman found Dau Mabil’s body floating in the Pearl River “roughly five miles north of Atwood Water Park” in Monticello, Miss., Lawrence County Sheriff Ryan Everett said in a statement he posted to Facebook on April 13, 2024.

Everett said in a subsequent Facebook post on the morning of April 18 that a preliminary autopsy “did not reveal any type of foul play.” But Bul Mabil rejected that statement and wants an independent autopsy to determine how his brother died.

Before authorities confirmed that the body found in the Pearl River was Dau Mabil, Bul Mabil filed a temporary restraining order requesting that no person or entity be able to take ownership of his brother’s remains until a state autopsy could be conducted.

During a court hearing on Thursday, Judge Dewayne Thomas issued an injunction to prevent any burial or cremation of Mabil’s remains before the state can conduct an autopsy, WAPT reported.

Closeup of a man in a green tshirt and a black and white necklace, with white and yellow flowers sitting in his short brown hair
Dau Mabil went missing in Jackson, Miss., on March 25, 2024. Photo courtesy family of Dau Mabil

Dau Mabil’s wife, Karissa Bowley, reported him missing to the Capitol Police Department on March 25. In the weeks following his disappearance, Bowley and Mabil’s brother, Bul, pleaded with the public for any tips that would help them locate their loved one.

“He loved Jackson,” Bowley said on April 1. “We all deserve love, and my love is Dau.”

Mabil was last seen in the Belhaven area of Jackson which is part of the Capitol Complex Improvement District that Capitol Police have jurisdiction over. But Mabil’s family wants Capitol Police and the Jackson Police Department to work together to find out what led to his death.

“At the request of the family some days ago, the Jackson Police Department assured the family that we would be involved in this case,” Lumumba said at the press conference on April 18.

“Per legislation, (Capitol Police) has been given primary jurisdiction but it’s concurrent. There’s nowhere in the law that the Jackson Police Department cannot run its own investigation,” the mayor continued.

Jackson Police Chief Joseph Wade said Thursday that he hadn’t yet examined any evidence in the case but that he is committed to working to find answers to any questions the family has about what happened to Mabil.

“I can say this with certainty: There are a lot of questions that need to be answered,” Wade said. “Until those questions are answered, we’ll continue our investigation.”

The mayor said he supported JPD’s continued investigation into Mabil’s death but added that he wanted to relieve any fear of an imminent threat to the public.

“For those that may be questioning whether or not you can run, bike and walk on this trail, at this time—based on the information available to us—I don’t want an unjustifiable hysteria with our residents where they don’t utilize this trail,” the mayor said.

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