Authorities have found the body of Black man who was hung from a tree near his home in Mississippi.
Local officers made the horrifying discovery earlier today after he’d been missing for weeks. CNN reports that authorities have identified the victim as a man named Otis Byrd, 54, who disappeared around March 8. He was not reported missing until nearly a week later on March 8.
Otis was found with a skull cap on his head and a bed sheet tied around his neck. The case has drawn attention from the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, but investigators aren’t making any declarations on what they think may have happened at this time because it is unclear.
“It is too early to say what happened and speculate,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jason Pack “We don’t know what happened out there, if it is a suicide, a homicide, that is why we investigate these types of cases to determine exactly what happened.”
Otis body was found after a local sheriff told the Fish and Wildlife search and rescue team to scan an area about half a mile away from a home owned by Otis’ family.
The discovery has prompted two investigations. Local authorities are looking into Otis’ death while the FBI is trying to determine whether any federal civil rights have been violated in connection to his death. The FBI said in a statement, “The sheriff’s department contacted the MBI and FBI for forensic and investigative assistance. Investigators are currently processing the scene for evidence to determine the cause and manner of death.”