A local rap music producer, implicated in an extensive federal investigation involving drug trafficking and its connection to criminal street gangs, is dead and authorities are saying very little about the circumstances of the slaying.Donta Cordell Edwards, 31-year-old owner and CEO of Grownman Records, was found dead April 15, 2007, along a freeway on the west side of Detroit.Whoever killed the man known for his work with local rap group Dope Boy Mafia cut off his hands, shot him in the head and set fire to his remains, authorities said, making the corpse difficult to identify. More than a year elapsed before family members learned he was dead.Edwards, whose mother said he wore a tattoo on his neck that read "BMF" — an acronym for Black Mafia Family, was being sought on an outstanding FBI warrant for drug trafficking.There are no suspects in the slaying and there have been no arrests, Detroit police Officer Leon Rahmaan said last week.Detroit police sought help from television show "America's Most Wanted."Edwards appears on the show's Web site as "Handless John Doe.""The body was dumped on the side of the road, with no effort to conceal it, in the middle of a roadway construction site," according to the posting, the exact date of which is not noted.
"The victim had several distinctive tattoos, but police were not able to learn any other information about this man. That's because after he had been killed by a gunshot to his head, his hands had been cut off and he had been set on fire. Without fingerprints to identify the victim, and with the rest of the body badly burned, it was hard to even know where to start."
The victim was not wearing any clothes when he was found, so there were no clues to be found there, the posting said."Detectives did find pieces of black plastic and duct tape on the victim's arms and near the body. This made it appear that the body had been partially covered by plastic trash bags at one point.
"Once the body has been identified, police believe that they will be much closer to solving this murder mystery, and finding justice for this brutalized victim."
It's a sentiment echoed by Edwards' mother, Carmen Jackson of Dayton. "He was loved by his family," she said.
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