Thursday, March 19, 2015

Black Man Found Hanged From Tree in Mississippi

A man who was reported missing earlier this month after a friend dropped him off at a casino in Vicksburg, Mississippi has been found hanging from a tree in Claiborne County.
Authorities are probing a hanging in Claiborne County, officials said. FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Pack said the FBI and Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are on the scene where a man's body was found hanging in the woods near Roddy Road. Coroner J.W. Mallett would not release any details, and simply said the death is under investigation. The Claiborne County Sheriff's Department and the Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks were conducting a ground search earlier Thursday for Otis Byrd, 54, who has been missing since March 2. That's when they found the body hanging about a half mile from his last known residence. The sheriff's department contacted the FBI and MBI for forensic and investigative assistance, Pack said....Investigators are processing the scene now to determine the cause and manner of death.

source: Clarion Ledger
According to additional reports, the medical examiner and investigators believe Otis' body has been hanging from the tree for some time.

Update: The sheriff's office said Otis' body was found with a bed sheet tied around his neck and a skull cap on his head, hanging from a tree. His hands were not tied up. The body was found 500 yards southwest of a house belonging to Otis' family. At this point there are two parallel investigations: one by local authorities into the death, and one by the FBI into whether there may be any federal civil rights violations. The FBI has a forensics team on the scene in part because the bureau has responsibility for federal civil rights law.

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