Content warning: The following article includes descriptions of violence.
The family of a Black man found unresponsive in a Pennsylvania park this month has expressed frustration with how local agencies are handling the investigation.
Police have claimed Donté Perez Jones’ death “appears to be a suicide.” His family, however, has argued that “more details” suggest it was actually a murder.
In footage shared to social media in recent days, Jones’ mother is seen explaining the lack of answers the family had then received from local law enforcement in the Blue Bell area. Per a report from regional outlet Around Ambler, Jones was found dead at Wentz Run Park on the morning of June 17. His family says he was hanged.
“There’s much more details that point to, that this was a murder. … You just saw a Black male hanging from here and then you take him down and then say, ‘Oh, that was suicide.’ Doesn’t make sense,” his mother said in the video, which was filmed at the park in question and also later shared by the Shade Room and the PA Women Rise group. “And then you have an event here at 10 o’clock. Is that what we do? The same day, that morning.”
In the same video, it’s said that Jones was found without his wallet, which was said to still be missing at the time the footage was taken.
A GoFundMe has also been launched, with LaTina Bedford-Dean listed as the fundraiser’s organizer. Per the fundraiser, which is listed as the “official page approved by his parents,” the goal is to obtain a lawyer, as well as to launch both an independent investigation and an independent autopsy. At the time of this writing, the GoFundMe was nearing $24,000 of its original $40,000 goal.
Tuesday, the Whitpain Township Police Department shared a public statement in which it was said that their investigation into Jones’ death remains ongoing.
“This investigation remains open and the final cause of death is pending the outcome of the investigation,” the department said. “At this time, based on the current facts and evidence, no foul play is suspected and this incident appears to be a suicide.”
As of Tuesday, police claimed, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office had conducted an autopsy but was still awaiting toxicology results.