A Ferguson protestor’s son was found dead near their St. Louis County home last month, the Associated Press reported.
Melissa McKinnies thinks her her son, Danye Jones, was murdered, the AP reported, but police are investigating it as a suicide.
“They lynched my baby,” Jones’ mom wrote on Facebook, according to the AP.
Facebook has since removed the post, the AP reported, but screen shots of it are now circulating across social media. The post included graphic photos of Jones hanging from a white piece of cloth. He appears to be next to a tree.
McKinnies’ post has stirred controversy about how Jones really died. Was he lynched? Or was it suicide?
The St. Louis County Police Department confirmed to McClatchy that officers responded to the home at about 6:10 a.m. on Oct. 17. They were responding to a “report of a suicide,” spokesman Sgt. Shawn McGuire said in a written statement.
“Detectives with Crimes Against Persons are leading the investigation, and it is being investigated as a suicide at this time,” he wrote.
McGuire said there were “no signs of struggle or trauma to the body,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He also told the Riverfront Times “there are no signs of foul play.”
But McKinnies doesn’t think it was a suicide.
On Facebook, she wrote that she is “sick with grief but ready to get up and fight for my baby.” That was posted at 4:54 a.m. on Oct. 30, about two weeks after Jones was found dead.
“McKinnies said she knew her son did not kill himself,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported after a Wednesday interview. The sheet he was hanging by did not match the rest of the sheets they own, the mother said, according to the newspaper.
“She said he was targeted and murdered in retaliation for her activism,” according to the Post-Dispatch. McKinnies was a “consistent fixture at the protests in Ferguson following Michael Brown’s death,” ColorLines reported in 2016. Her Facebook bio says “Black lives do matter too.”
The Washington Post reports that “two prominent figures in the movement” have died since the 2014 protests in Ferguson. That doesn’t include the death of Jones.
“Three untimely deaths in St. Louis County over the past four years have inspired speculation that Ferguson protesters are being systematically murdered,” the newspaper reported, “although so far there is no evidence to suggest that the parallels are anything more than coincidental.”
Earlier this year, Jones posted to Facebook that “this world is already against us so why help them accomplish they goal ... Rise up.”