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The death of Marco McMillian, a candidate for mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, is being investigated as a homicide and has left the town shocked.
According to ABC News, the Coahoma County Sheriff's Office said that the 34-year-old’s body was found by the Mississippi-Yazoo levee in the woods, 30 miles from where his car was found crashed. County Coroner Scotty Meredith confirmed that he was not driving and that the death is being looked at as a homicide.
The sheriff’s office later released a statement on Facebook saying that a person of interest is in custody. They have not revealed his name as the investigation continues.
McMillian had gone missing on Tuesday following a car crash that involved his SUV. Lawrence Reed, who has been identified as the person of interest by other authorities, was driving the SUV, but McMillian wasn’t inside after the accident.
Jarod Keith, McMillian’s campaign spokesperson told The Associated Press that McMillian was openly gay, however this never became a topic in the race. Still, gay rights group Victory Fund tweeted, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Marco McMillian, one of the 1st viable openly LGBT candidates in Mississippi.”
Will Rooker, a spokesperson for the sheriff's office, told ABC24 that McMillian’s death was not being looked at as a hate crime.
“We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life,” Keith’s statement read. “Tragically, that life has been cut short.”
The town of Clarksdale is also in shock. His competitors, Bill Luckett and state Rep. Chuck Espy, both expressed their condolences.
“He was a very articulate, clean-cut young man,” Luckett told the AP. “It's a bizarre and tragic situation.”