May 29 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department said on Friday it was closing its investigation into the death of a black man found hanging from a tree in Mississippi in March after finding no evidence to prove it was a homicide.
Federal investigators joined the probe into the circumstances of Otis James Byrd's death after the 54-year-old man went missing for more than two weeks before being found in a wooded area about half a mile (0.8 km) from his home in a rural part of western Mississippi.
The Mississippi chapter of the NAACP had called for a federal investigation into Byrd's death amid fears it may have been a racially motivated hate crime.
But the Justice Department said it would not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges.
"After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents determined that there was no evidence to prove that Byrd's death was a homicide," the department said in a statement. (Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Will Dunham)
Also on HuffPost:
More:Reuters Justice Department Mississippi Hanging Mississippi Hanging Fbi Hanging Investigation Justice Department Hanging Investigation
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more