US: Police launch murder probe after gay Mississippi mayoral candidate found dead

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An indivdual has been questioned by police following the death of a gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi.

The body of Marco McMillian was discovered in the woods of Mississippi on Wednesday and an unidentified person has been brought into custody.

The coroner’s office said there is no immediate report on the cause of death but investigators are treating the case as a homicide.

Mr McMillian, 34, was standing for election in Clarksdale, Mississippi and had been missing since Tuesday morning when his vehicle was involved in a head-on collision, reports ABC.

However, according to authorities, Mr McMillian was not in the vehicle and the driver was identified as Lawrence Reed, 22, from Clarksdale, Mississippi.

Mr Reed was airlifted to a hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

The body of Mr McMillian was then found in the woods near the Mississippi-Yazoo levee, about 30 miles from the roadway where the car crash had taken place.

An individual is currently in custody in connection with the investigation – although no charges have been filed at present.

The sheriff’s department has not confirmed if Mr Reed was the person brought into custody or whether this action was taken in connection with the death of Mr McMillan or as part of the car accident investigation.

Mr McMillian was widely regarded as one of the first openly gay political candidates in Mississippi but his campaign spokesman, Jarod Keith said his sexuality was never an issue in the campaign.

In a statement, Mr McMillian’s campaign said: “Words cannot describe our grief at the loss of our dear friend, Marco McMillian. The shocking news of Marco’s death is beyond difficult for us to process.”

At present, Mr McMillian’s death is not being treated as a hate crime by police and his spokesman said he did not think his death was politically motivated.

The police are releasing no further information “due to the fact this is an ongoing investigation.”