HOUSTON, Texas -- Speaking through a bullhorn outside the Texas Department of Public Safety, Rossalind Wright begged for answers in her son's death Thursday.
Alfred Wright, 28, was found dead in Sabine County. An official autopsy pointed to a lethal dose of drugs in his body, but his family believes he was murdered.
"I don't care if I have to fight until I take my last breath," said Rossalind Wright. "We have to get justice."
Wright was a father of three and worked as a physical therapist. The family said he had no history of drug use. He disappeared on his way to work near Hemphill, Texas in November.
After just four days, the Sabine County Sheriff's Office called of its search. Two weeks later, family members reportedly found Wright's body about 150 feet away from the sheriff's command post.
Sabine authorities said they believe he died of an overdose of methamphetamine and cocaine. But a private autopsy uncovered that Wright's throat had been slit, his eyes were gouged out and his tongue had been cut.
"Alfred Wright was not killed by drugs," said community activist Deric Muhammad. "Alfred Wright was killed by thugs, real thugs, racist redneck thugs."
The United States Department of Justice is reviewing the matter, but family members and supporters want the federal government to investigate how state and local authorities have handled the case.
"We are calling on the Department of Justice to investigate the Texas Rangers and every investigative agency that fumbled the investigation of Alfred Wright and his death," said Muhammad.
The Texas Department of Public Safety released a statement saying in part, "We ask for the public’s patience and request that they withhold passing judgment on this case until the investigation is complete and all the facts have been established."
Click here to read the full statement.
The Sabine County Sheriff’s Department also released a statement Thursday evening.
“Although we do not agree with the wildly false allegations being made, we cannot dispute them at this time due to this being an open investigation,” Sheriff Tom Maddox said. “I strongly urge everyone to keep an open mind, and refrain from commenting, or pre-forming opinions based on rumors and speculations surrounding the disappearance of Mr. Wright.”
Wright's wife is white, and family members believe he may have been targeted for attack because he was black.
In 1998, another racially charged case attracted national attention in the nearby town of Jasper. Three white men were convicted of dragging a black man to his death.
It's another reason the Wrights believe they have not been told the truth about what happened to Alfred.
The family and supporters are planning to protest in Jasper next month.
"I will not go away," said Rossalind White.