*Black history may make it easy to assume the worst, but officials in Mississippi are scratching their head on this one. Apparently, as they were conducting a search for a man that had been reported missing, they found him hanging from a tree in Claiborne County, Mississippi, on Thursday, according to a statement from the FBI.
He had been missing since early this month.
According to WJTV’s Danielle Avitable, the county sheriff said the man’s body was hanging from a bed sheet.
So now they are left to decipher whether the man was murdered or if he took his own life.
Two investigations have now ensued to examine his death. Local authorities and the FBI are working to determine whether federal civil rights violations come into play.
“Earlier in the day, the Claiborne County Sheriffs Department and the Mississippi [Department of] Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks conducted a ground search for a man who had been missing since early March,” said a statement released by the FBI. “Officers located a man hanging in the woods near Roddy Road a half mile from his last known residence.”
The local NAACP chapter believes the dead man is 54-year-old Otis Byrd. But law enforcement officials haven’t released any information on the man’s identity as of yet.
Byrd was last seen on March 2 after a friend dropped him off at a casino in nearby Vicksburg.
“The sheriff’s department contacted the MBI [Mississippi Bureau of Investigation] and FBI for forensic and investigative assistance,” the FBI said. “Investigators are currently processing the scene for evidence to determine the cause and manner of death.”
Reportedly, that the local NAACP chapter has asked the Department of Justice to investigate.