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FBI Investigates Hanging Death of Black Man in Mississippi

Whether it's homicide or suicide is unclear
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2015 6:51 PM CDT
FBI Investigates Hanging Death of Black Man in Mississippi
Otis James Byrd   (Mississippi Department of Corrections)

(Newser) – The FBI is investigating the death of a black man in Mississippi whose body was found hanging from a tree. Authorities aren't saying yet whether they think it's a homicide or a suicide, reports msnewsnow.com. It was the NAACP that identified the victim as 54-year-old Otis Byrd, who has been missing March 2. The group also asked the Justice Department to join the investigation with the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.

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The body was found in the woods near Byrd's rural home in Claiborne County, hanged by a noose made of bed sheets. His family confirmed the identification. “This is a small town, everybody knows everybody,” Byrd's father tells the Los Angeles Times. Byrd served about 25 years in prison for the murder of a woman he robbed in 1980, reports the Clarion-Ledger. He was released on parole in 2006. (Read more Mississippi stories.)

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