Otis Byrd's family seeks answers after his hanging death - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Otis Byrd's family seeks answers after his hanging death

Otis Byrd (Source: Byrd's family) Otis Byrd (Source: Byrd's family)

The family of a man found hanging from a tree in Mississippi made a call for transparency on Wednesday afternoon.

Otis Byrd's death made headlines around the country when he was found hanging from a tree by a bed sheet on March 19, not far from his home in Claiborne County.

The 54-year-old man had been missing for over two weeks.

"There is a long history of lynching black men in the state of Mississippi. There is a long history of lynching of black men, and this has brought national attention to this case," said the Byrds' family attorney, Dennis Sweet.

Sweet held a news conference on Wednesday to announce that Byrd's family does not believe he hung himself.

In order to obtain more information, the family hired famed pathologist Dr. Michael Baden to do an independent examination.

Baden also assisted in Michael Brown's death investigation after he was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Baden also looked into the deaths of President John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr.

"Otis Byrd was found dead three weeks ago, and the family still has limited information. The family wants answers," Sweet said. "We cannot allow the death of a man hanging from a tree to be swept under a rug."

Sweet declined to discuss what autopsy information the Federal Bureau of Investigation shared with family members on March 24. He would only say that relatives do not have all of the autopsy information they want.

"As legal counsel, we are prepared to take any and all legal action necessary to ensure that the investigation is thorough and complete," Sweet added.

Sweet is prepared to use subpoena power, public pressure, and anything else necessary to get the facts. He says even though Byrd's body was cremated, there are other ways for investigations to find out what happened.

Meanwhile, the FBI has not said when the agency will release Byrd's autopsy results to the public.

As for the Byrd family, attorneys say they are not ready to comment publicly on Otis Byrd's death.

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