No indictments returned in Andreacchio case

photo courtesy of the Andreacchio Family

Christian Andreacchio, age 20, and family member Shelton.

A Lauderdale County grand jury has chosen not to indict two individuals in the 2014 death of 21-year-old Christian Andreacchio.

Dylan Swearingen and Whitley Goodman, Andreacchio’s friend and girlfriend, were with Andreacchio the day he died.

Andreacchio’s parents Rae and Todd maintain Goodman and Swearingen were involved in their son’s death and that he would not have killed himself.

Andreacchio’s death received national attention following a more than three-year investigation involving a host of police detectives, three police chiefs, the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation, private investigators, crime scene re-constructionists, a forensic pathologist, several attorneys and finally the Attorney General’s office.

The death was prematurely ruled a suicide by then-Meridian police chief and the case then reopened months later by current chief Benny Dubose.

Earlier this year, however, District Attorney Bilbo Mitchell asked that his office be recused from the case because he coached Andreacchio in soccer when he was younger.

The state Attorney General’s office presented the case to the grand jury last month.

“Our involvement is now over after the grand jury did not find sufficient evidence to indict anyone for the death,” spokeswoman Margaret Ann Morgan said.

A call to J. Stewart Parrish, attorney for Swearingen and Goodman, was not immediately returned on Tuesday.

Rae Andreacchio, Christian’s mother, said she was not surprised by the outcome but questioned how the Attorney General’s office handled the case.

She said to her knowledge, no one ever contacted the expert witnesses the family had hired to investigate the forensic evidence and other information regarding the case. She also said no one who worked on a Mississippi River tow boat with Christian and had knowledge of the events leading up to his death was contacted.

“It’s all based on what information they give to the grand jury. So when you give no contradicting information because you haven’t spoken to anyone that would contradict anything, then of course it’s going to be a suicide,” she said. “We were kind of prepared for it.”

Morgan said, however, the grand jury received information that “encompassed investigations by multiple agencies, including our office, the family’s investigator, MBI (Mississippi Bureau of Investigation), and Meridian PD (Police Department).”

The family decided not to pursue a civil suit filed earlier this year against Goodman and Swearingen, but Andreacchio said she and family members will continue to search for answers.

“We’ll just continue to try to find someone who will help us,” she said.

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