An FBI agent said during a Friday news conference that a preliminary autopsy in the death of a black man who was found hanging from a tree in rural Mississippi was expected next week.
He also said the cause of the man’s death could not be confirmed.
FBI Special Agent Don Alway said the man’s identity had been confirmed by a state medical examiner on Friday as that of Otis Byrd, a convicted killer who was released from prison in 2006 and who was last seen on March 2.
Alway said Byrd’s family had been notified and that 30 agents were working on the investigation to determine whether the death was a homicide or suicide.
The Los Angeles Times reported on Friday that an anonymous federal law enforcement official said preliminary results from an autopsy had pointed to suicide. However, Alway’s statement at Friday’s news conference appeared to indicate that determination had not yet been made.
Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at email@example.com.