NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) -- New Haven police apologize for the time it took them to identify the body of a man pulled out of the West River.
It took police almost two months to identify the 18-year-old man.
The delay happened even despite the fact that the man's family came forward and correctly identified tattoos on the body.
"We burned candles, we prayed for him to come home at night, ya know," said Aisha Stedford, victim's sister, "and that whole time it was him."
18-year-old Mutalib Bobby Bello wasn't really missing, his body was labeled unidentified, lying in the morgue for two months.
In May, a body was pulled from the West River, police noted the tattoos and the corpse was sent to the Medical Examiner's office.
There were pictures taken of the tattoos, including "Bello" right across the belly.
"They don't work together and they have to start working together or this is going to occur so many more times," said Stedford.
Even though she had given detectives a detailed description of her brother's stomach tattoo, the two agencies didn't communicate, so the body remained a "John Doe" for weeks until a desperate sister discovered his listing on a website, complete with the image of that "Bello" tattoo.
"They're not sorry his body was treated the way it was," said Stedford, "they are trying to cover up their behinds and that's what it is, that is all it is."
So the apology was not really accepted, rather the family is asking each New Haven officer to remember this case the next time a family walks up the steps and through their door to report a missing teen.
"Tomorrow there will be a next kid out there on the streets, something is going to happen," Stedford said, "they don't care and that is what I'm trying to put out there...New Haven police does not care."
News 8 reached out to the police chief asking if he wanted to apologize on camera, but were told there will be no further comment as the case is still under investigation.
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