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On June 17th, around 7:00 a.m., Donté Perez Jones, a Black Army veteran and father of three, was found hanging in a Pennsylvania park, and his death was ruled a suicide. However, family and friends suspect he was murdered since the facts and evidence do not add up with the ruling.
The Whitpain Police Department in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania, informed LaTina Dean, Jones’ mother, that he had committed suicide and that the case was closed.
On June 16th, around 11:40 p.m., Jones was last seen visiting his mother. He lived in Delaware County, an hour from Blue Bell, where his body was found. According to his mother, Donte has no ties to Blue Bell. At about 9:30 a.m. the next day, Dean was notified about her son’s death by Sharon Hill Police. However, the death did not stop officers from opening the park, as they removed his body and had the park open for a 10:00 am event.
When asked to view the body to determine if that was her son, Dean’s request was denied, as the Whitpain Detectives closed the case and ruled Jones’ death a suicide. However, she stated that this case should be treated as a murder and coverup. Not convinced that her son had taken his life, Dean requested an autopsy, but the coroner’s office declined since it was ruled a suicide.
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On June 17th, the family went to the Whitpain Police Department and was told the case was closed. However, they were still determined to get justice, and the next day, they began calling government officials, NAACP representatives, and state representatives.
The chief of the police department in Pennsylvania contacted LaTina to apologize and inform her that an autopsy and full investigation would be conducted. The Whitpain Township coroner’s office conducted a complete autopsy; however, they stated it would take many weeks before findings came back.
Many still have questions about Jones’ death, as they are still uncertain that he committed suicide.
Dean stated on gofundme, “Why were the parents unable to identify the body to ensure that it is Donté? Why would Donté drive an hour away at 12 a.m. to an unknown township in the middle of the woods and use a back entrance to get to the park where there are no cameras they think he came to commit suicide?… IS IT NOT SUSPICIOUS THAT A BLACK MAN WAS FOUND HUNG IN A PREDOMINANTLY WHITE NEIGHBORHOOD ON JUNETEENTH WEEKEND???”
On Monday, the Whitpain Township Police Department put forth a statement concerning Donte’s passing, “The investigation into the death of Mr. Jones’s ongoing, and the Whitpain Police Department did not report that the investigation is closed.”
To support the family’s GoFundMe, click here.