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FBI says family given autopsy results in Mississippi hanging

JACKSON — The FBI says it has discussed autopsy results with the family of a black man found hanging from a tree in Mississippi.

However, investigators are not saying when they will publicly release the information or whether they consider the death of 54-year-old Otis Byrd to be homicide or suicide.

“At each milestone in this case, the FBI’s first step is to personally brief family members,” Don Alway, special agent in charge of the FBI in Mississippi, said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Agents from the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation met March 24 with Byrd’s family to discuss the autopsy, Alway said. That was five days after Byrd was found hanging from a tree near the home he rented in Port Gibson, a small town near the Mississippi River in the southwestern part of the state.

A call to Byrd’s sister, Florine Hodge, was not answered Wednesday, and it was not possible to leave a message seeking comment from her.

A call to Byrd’s stepsister, Tracy Wilson, was not immediately returned to the AP.

An attorney representing the Byrd family is scheduled to hold a news conference Wednesday in Jackson to discuss the investigation.

The FBI says it is awaiting results of forensic tests from its laboratory. More than 30 federal and state investigators have been working on the case. They have interviewed people who knew Byrd and searched his home and a storage unit he rented.

 

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