Marines spokesman: 18-year-old accused of killing grandmother had no medical or moral waivers in his file
Posted May 1, 2018 11:40 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 2:08 p.m. EDT
Rocky Mount, N.C. — Just days after his nephew was accused of killing his mother, Mitchell Evans said his entire family is trying to process how the tragedy happened.
While he’s in disbelief, Evans thinks the murder could have been prevented if the right steps were taken to address Isaiah Caesar's mental health.
Evans said his mother, 74-year-old Sallie Copeland Evans, was a strong believer in forgiveness and in her 18–year-old grandson Isaiah Caesar.
“She is a beautiful woman,” Mitchell Evans said. “She told me, she said, ‘I'm his rock, and I'm the only one that he can come to.’"
A spokesman for the United States Marine Corps told WRAL News in a statement Wednesday that Caesar had no medical or moral waivers in his recruitment file.
"If the alleged medical condition had been reported when asked during Department of Defense and Marine Corps standardized screening processes, it would have been documented and assessed by competent military medical professionals to determine the individual's potential fitness for duty," the spokesman said in a statement. "When it comes to medical records, due to associated privacy laws, we are reliant on the applicant willfully disclosing and sharing that information."
Evans said recently he "had a gut feeling that something wasn't right." According to his family, Caesar was supposed to be on active duty with the Marine Corps.
Marine Corps officials said he was part of an aviation unit in Fort Benning, Ga., but had been classified as a deserter since April 1.
Evans said his mother was trying to persuade her grandson to go back to the Marine Corps and get the necessary help and support.
“She talked to Isaiah,” he said. “I don't know what happened. We suspect that there was some type of struggle, and he didn't want to go back and then that's what happened.”
The Halifax County Sheriff's Office said Isaiah Casear killed his grandmother. She was missing for several days before her body was discovered in a creek by her home on Friday.
Deputies located Caesar at a local hotel in the Rocky Mount area after using Ms. Evans' credit card to purchase a room, and he was taken into custody.
Authorities said Casear was also responsible for killing Roderick Bluesky Mills. Evidence at the crime scene in Hollister linked Casear to Bluesky's death.
The family told WRAL News that both deaths could have been prevented if Caesar got the help he needed.
“What we're going to do is bring awareness to mental illness and let people know that if you see those signs don't ignore them just do all you can to make sure they get help,” Evans said.
While the family had nothing to say to their nephew, they said “Mama Sallie” would ask them to forgive him.
“She had away and a knack of making you cut through all that hate anger regret and sometimes hate,” Evans said.
Caesar's next court date is on May 16.