DNA evidence confirms buried body as Till

[JURIST] DNA evidence has confirmed that remains exhumed from a suburban Chicago cemetery in June are those of Emmett Till [Wikipedia profile], a 14-year-old African American boy slain in Mississippi in 1955. The exhumation [JURIST report] was the final step in the US Department of Justice investigation into the murder. Accused of whistling at, or openly flirting with, a white woman, the boy was brutally beaten, shot and thrown into the Tallahatchie River with a cotton gin fan tied to his neck. The DOJ reopened the case in 2004 [New York Times report] to see if anyone besides Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, both acquitted in an hour by an all-white jury partially because the body was not identified, was involved in the murder. While the five-year statute of limitations in effect in 1955 has long since expired, suspects can still be tried at the state level. The FBI has said it will conclude the investigation in the fall and present the findings to the local district attorney where the kidnapping and murder occurred. This case, combined with several other high-profile civil rights cases recently reopened, has inspired proposed legislation [bill summary and status; press release] that would establish an unsolved crimes section in the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ. USA Today has more.

 

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