Federal and state authorities investigating Mississippi hanging - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Federal and state authorities investigating Mississippi hanging

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - Suicide or homicide? That is the question federal and state authorities are working to answer after a man is found dead hanging from a tree in Port Gibson, Mississippi.

Otis Byrd, 44, was reported missing about two weeks ago.

On Thursday, he was found hanging from a tree with a bed sheet tied around his neck.

The N.A.A.C.P. is calling on the U.S. Justice Department to assist with the investigation.

However, the local police are hesitant.

"This is 2015 and I hope and pray that race had nothing to do with this, and I don't want to alarm anyone in the county and start telling folks this is a black and white issue," said Sheriff Marvin Lucas of the Claiborne County Sheriff's Office.

There are questions about whether Byrd's past played a role in his death.

He spent more than 20 years in prison, after being convicted of murdering a woman in 1980.

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