A black Mississippi man who had been missing for over two weeks was found hanging from a tree on Thursday, authorities say.
Claiborne County Coroner J.W. Mallett has not disclosed details of the case, and it is not yet clear if the death was from a homicide or a suicide, the Clarion Ledger reported. The FBI, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the United States Attorney’s office are investigating the case.
“This is the first time I have witnessed anything like this in Claiborne County,” Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas told WAPT.
The case has sparked speculation that it could have been a lynching, the last of which took place as recently as 2011 in Mississippi, a state with a troubled history of racial violence. The sentencing judge in that case told the three men who were sentenced last month in that case that they had “ripped off the scab of the healing scars of Mississippi…causing her to bleed again.”