Washington Parish, LA — Ja’Quarius Taylor, a gay teen from Louisiana, was reportedly found dead near a lake with a shot to the head. His family is urging the FBI to get involved with the investigation as they believe that his death was a hate crime.
On January 12, a person who was checking the water levels of the lake called 911 after noticing an unresponsive body. An hour before the discovery, Taylor’s mother noticed he was missing and called 911 as well. Police eventually identified that the body was of Taylor, who also lived near the lake.
Taylor, who is a senior student at Varnado High School, was gay. Taylor’s family believes that because of his sexual orientation and race, his death was an anti-gay and anti-Black hate crime.
His family said they are not satisfied with the investigation being done by local authorities. They are hoping that the federal government will get involved “because of the perceived conflicts of interest and family relations the local sheriff may have,” his family said in a statement.
Taylor’s death is currently being investigated as a homicide, according to the Washington Parish Sheriff’s Office, citing that it could be investigated as a hate crime if appropriate evidence will be found.
Last week, a significant piece of evidence in connection with the crime was found by a dive team from St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office in the lake near where Taylor’s body was found. The evidence, which has yet been disclosed, is being processed by a federal law enforcement crime lab.
“We have reached out to our law enforcement partners on the local, state and federal levels,” Sheriff Randy Seal told Fox8. “Our intent is to leave no stone unturned as all agencies work together to solve this senseless murder.”
Moreover, no arrests have yet been made in the shooting death. A $5,000 reward has been offered for any information about the suspect or the incident.