Government reopens Emmet Till murder investigation after 63 years

Emmett Till and Carolyn Bryant Donham

Emmett Till and Carolyn Bryant Donham AP

The federal government has reopened the investigation into the murder of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old African-American boy whose mutilated body was left in Mississippi’s Tallahatchie River in 1955 in one of the most notorious racist killings of the Jim Crow-era Deep South.

Two men, Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam, both white, were prosecuted but acquitted by an all-white jury after just an hour of deliberation.

A 2017 book revealing lies told by a key figure in the case prompted the government to reopen its inquiry, a federal official said Thursday.

The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson quotes a white woman, Carolyn Donham, as saying that her testimony that Till had whistled and made sexual advances toward her at a Mississippi store was false.

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