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Authorities have yet to confirm if a missing man found hanging from a tree in Mississippi last week was killed or committed suicide, but the FBI is now consulting with the Behavioral Analysis Unit (or “profilers”) to break the case.

Otis Byrd, 54, was found with a sheet around his neck near his Port Gibson home last Thursday. Family and friends say the man had been missing for two weeks before authorities found his body in the woods. Preliminary autopsy results led investigators to believe Byrd committed suicide, however, the FBI does not expect an official report on Byrd for a number of days, supervisory special agent for the FBI’s Jackson, Mississippi, office Jason Pack told the Associated Press.

At least 30 state, local, and federal investigators are on the case, along with the BAU profilers enlisted to assist the FBI.

From the Clarion-Ledger:

According to, the Behavioral Analysis Unit “focuses specifically on criminal human behavior in an attempt to better understand criminals—who they are, how they think, why they do what they do—as a means to help solve crimes.” Officials said they hope the BAU will help narrow down whether Byrd’s death was a suicide or a homicide.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Don Alway said investigators continue to do interviews through the weekend, but now they’re putting every new detail under the microscope to see if there are any new leads that develop. “We’re really going to ask for folks again to dig deep and think if there’s anyone who has communicated with Mr. Byrd, especially from March 2 on, no matter how small that communication could have been,” he said.

Despite numerous reports that Byrd had a criminal past, Alway refused to comment on any personal or financial problems the 54-year-old may have experienced in the days prior to his death.

“I really don’t want to speak to anything about his personal life, although we are in regular communication with his family to make sure we get the picture painted as completely as possible,” he said.

The investigation continues. We’ll make sure to keep you updated with the latest.



Body Of Missing African-American Man Found Hanging From Tree In Mississippi 

Investigators: Preliminary Autopsy Results Suggest Hanging Mississippi Man Committed Suicide

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