If you watched American Idol last week, you may have caught the brief backstory on contestant Savion Wright. Just two and a half weeks before the 21-year-old contestant was set to fly out for Hollywood Week, his family was rocked by horrific news: Savion’s brother was found dead.
During the show, Savion didn’t share many details about his 28-year-old brother Alfred’s sudden passing, simply telling Ryan that he “died.”
“It’s been really hard on my family,” Savion continued as photos of his brother played across the screen. “I was close to him. I really looked up to him. I put all my anger and my emotions into my song.”
Savion chose to sing an original number, “Breathing Underwater,” and the obvious passion in his performance moved Jennifer Lopez to tears.
Sadly, the bad news just keeps coming with new details emerging about the mysterious death of Savion’s brother.
According to Texas news outlet KHOU, Alfred, a physical therapist, was driving to see a patient when his truck broke down. He called his wife, Lauren, for help and his parents agreed to go get him. Then, when Lauren called Alfred back, she heard heavy breathing, a “respiratory distress of some kind,” as she told KHOU. “I just could sense that something wasn’t right.”
Alfred’s truck was later found abandoned; the subsequent search by the Sabine County Sheriff’s Office was called off four days later. Friends and family continued the hunt, however, and eventually discovered Alfred’s body on November 25, 2013, 18 days since Alfred was last seen alive.
The official county-ordered autopsy claimed Alfred died from a drug overdose and reported lethal amounts of meth, amphetamines, and cocaine in his system. Shocked, his family received another autopsy from Houston. Those results say Alfred’s ear and tongue were missing and his throat appeared to have been cut.
Lauren is convinced he was murdered. “I know my husband was killed by somebody,” she told KHOU. “There’s no question in my mind.”
Casting even more suspicion over the case is the location. The Wrights live in Jasper, Texas, the same community that made headlines in 1998 when three white men dragged an African American man, James Byrd, Jr., behind their pickup truck and dumped his lifeless body in front of an African American cemetery.
Alfred’s case has been turned over to the U.S. Justice Department and is currently under investigation. Our thoughts are with Savion and his family during this difficult time.