Mar 4, 2013

Clarksdale mayoral candidate Marco McMillian was beaten, dragged and set afire in a brutal murder last week, said his family in a statement issued late Sunday.

“We feel this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found,” the McMillian family said. “Marco, nor anyone, should have their lives end in this manner.”

The family, which said it learned details of the murder from the coroner, asked for a full and thorough investigation into the 33-year-old’s death.

The Coahoma County Sheriff’s Department, which is leading the investigation, didn’t immediately have a response to the family’s statement.

McMillian’s body was found on Wednesday near the base of the Mississippi River west of Clarksdale after he’d been missing for one day. On Thursday, the sheriff’s department charged Lawrence Reed, 22, of Clarksdale, with murder in connection with the death.

Other than to say it’s not investigating the murder as a hate crime, the department has released no other information about the incident or the arrest. This has prompted mass speculation about why it occurred.

Among the numerous theories is that Reed allegedly killed McMillian after the openly gay candidate made sexual advances toward him, or that the two men possibly had been in a romantic relationship.

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