Updated: Thursday, 29 Nov 2012, 10:39 PM EST
Published : Thursday, 29 Nov 2012, 10:37 PM EST
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- New Haven Police released their findings in a controversial drowning case where they failed to identify the body. Police are saying the problem was a technological oversight and the family isn't satisfied with that.
18-year-old Mutalib Bello, known as Bobby disappeared back in May. Around the same time, a body turned up in the West River that was discolored and bloated due to being submerged and the tattoos on the body unable to be read.
Bobby's sister Aisha Stedford filed a missing persons report, describing her brother's tattoos in details, including his last name, the word "Bello," scrawled right across his stomach.
"That report is in a database. It was their job with that missing person report to match it up to the body," Stedford said.
But the police didn't match it up. They told Aisha, the body was of a 30 to 50-year-old man, not an 18-year-old.
When the tattoos were able to be read they took pictures but apparently those never got to the morgue where Bobby laid, unidentified, for two months.
It was Aisha who found a website of John Does. It had pictures of tattoos and that's how the identification was finally made.
New Haven police released a statement --
"Due to discoloration and the body's condition after being submerged, the identifying tattoos were not visible. Once the tattoos became visible, a second set of photographs were taken. The second set of photographs didn't load on to the disk that had been prepared for review by the case Detectives. This was an unfortunate technological oversight."
For his family, it's not enough.
"That was my only brother and I, honestly, my heart feel like the New Haven police just treated him like he was a piece of meat," Stedford said.
The medical examiner says there's no sign of foul play or trauma and has been ruled an accidental drowning.
The family says Bobby knew how to swim and the West River is far from his home. They believe it was a homicide, but their faith in the police is shattered. They don't believe the case was taken seriously or properly investigated from the start.
"There was no justice done for my brother at all. There's still no justice being done for him at all," Stedford said.