The FBI says they are investigating after a 21-year-old black man was found hanging from a tree in Scott County, Mississippi. Authorities say Willie Andrew Jones Jr. was found outside his ex-girlfriend's house hanging from a tree on the night of February 8.
Scott County Sheriff Mike Lee said the death is consistent with suicide and there is no evidence the hanging was racially motivated. Witnesses told investigators Lee fought with his girlfriend and threatened to hang himself shortly before he was found dead.
The family of the victim contacted NAACP President Charles Hampton who in turn contacted the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. Hampton says the family was told by investigators the death was a suicide but they say he would never hang himself.
"The family never believed it was a suicide, and that's why they reached out to us," Hampton said. "The Jones and Townsend families deserve a complete and thorough accounting of the facts surrounding this incident."
Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Marshall Fisher said, "This is an ongoing investigation. All evidence is being considered and at this time, no conclusions have been reached."
The sheriff also said the initial autopsy cited death by hanging but they are still waiting for more results. In addition to the hanging, someone shot into the girlfriend's house Wednesday and no injuries were reported.
The shooting and hanging death are both still under investigation.
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