FBI investigates suspected lynching in North Carolina

The local police and coroner in the small town with a boarded-up KKK meeting hall quickly labeled a 17-year-old black youth’s strange death a suicide, and made no effort to investigate the possibility of foul play. First the NAACP stepped in, and now the FBI has opened an investigation.

He had been dating a 31-year-old white woman, and some of the townsfolk didn’t like it. The couple had been warned not to date and victimized with racial slurs. She believes he was murdered because of their relationship. After his death, she moved to another state, fearing for her own safety.

He’d gone walking after dark on August 28, 2014. His body was found the next morning, hanging from a swing set by two belts that didn’t belong to him, near a trailer park where blacks were unwelcome. There was no ladder or chair under the body that he could have jumped off. His brand new Air Jordan sneakers were missing, and the cheap laceless sneakers found near the body didn’t belong to him and were two sizes too small. The body had scratches and bruises consistent with a fight. After his funeral, his grave was desecrated.

The youth was a wrestler, weight lifter, and football player who dreamed of playing in the NFL someday. High school football season started the next day. He was looking forward to it. He didn’t tell anyone he intended to kill himself, and he didn’t leave a suicide note.

The local police and coroner called it a “suicide” and closed the case. His family wasn’t having it. The NAACP wouldn’t have it, either, and organized a protest march to get state authorities and the feds involved. Hopefully, the FBI will get to the bottom of it.



Photos: The town, victim, girlfriend, death scene, protesters.


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