The body was discovered Thursday as the Claiborne County sheriff's department and the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks conducted a ground search for Byrd. The MBI (Mississippi Bureau of Investigations), received a missing persons report from the sheriffs on March 13.
Jim Walker, a spokesman for the MDWFP, said that about 25 minutes after the officers started the search, they found the body hanging in the woods about 200 yards from Byrd's house.
Walker said the body had "obvious signs" of decomposition, indicating it had been there for more than a day.
Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas Sr. said a positive identification will not be available until the completion of an autopsy, which he said should help determine the cause of death.
Lucas said the body, which was found hanging by a bedsheet, has been sent to the state Crime Lab in Jackson.
"We are calling on federal authorities to immediately investigate the hanging death of Mr. Otis Byrd to determine whether or not his death is the result of a hate crime," Derrick Johnson, the President of the NAACP Mississippi State Conference said in a statement.
Byrd has a criminal record and was incarcerated in 1980 for the killing of a woman during a robbery. He was paroled in 2006. But his past mistakes did not give anyone the right to hang him in a tree 9 years later. I am always disgusted by the fact that a victims criminal record is made public as if his past makes their lives somehow less valuable.