MBI, FBI investigate hanging death of Mississippi man - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MBI, FBI investigate hanging death of Mississippi man

Source: MS Parole Board Source: MS Parole Board
CLAIBORNE COUNTY, MS -

The FBI has offered a few new details on the death of Otis Byrd, who was found hanging from a tree.

Byrd was last seen on March 2 at the Riverwalk Casino, and was reported missing to MBI nearly two weeks later.

Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries found Byrd's body hanging by bed sheets from a tree near Rodney Road in Claiborne County.

The FBI, MBI and the Claiborne County Sheriffs are all helping in the investigation of Otis Byrd's death.

The heartbroken family just wants answers.

"When he became missing, we were like no, not him. Not Uncle Otis," said a family member. "So that's how it was, so something ain't right."

Friday, friends of Byrd gathered outside the courthouse waiting to hear the latest and holding signs demanding the truth.

"It make me feel bad. He ain't bother nobody," said friend Ferdale Johnson. "He was a good person. I don't see why nobody would do nothing like that."

In a state with a long history of racial crimes, friends of Byrd believe his death could be racially motivated, but officials have not determined if that is a factor.

"I refuse to bring race into this. Just remember that a young man died, regardless of whether not if he was black or white," said Sheriff Marvin Lucas. "If somebody murdered him, that person will be brought to justice."

There are approximately 30 agents from the FBI , the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation and other state and local agencies trying to paint a picture as to his cause of death. They say every detail matters.

"Our evidence response team today is also searching a storage location owned by Mr. Byrd more of a fact matter that might help us get to the answers were all seeking," said FBI Special Agent Don Alway.

Local officials hope that racial hatred does not play a role in the death of Byrd. Meanwhile, they say every detail matters in the investigation.

"Given this information I ask that this community would allow the agencies to do their work," said Lucas. "And I commit to you as the sheriff of Claiborne County that I would not allow the shadows of the past to cast a shadow on the future."

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