By Maya Rhodan
March 19, 2015

The FBI is helping local authorities investigate the death of a black man found hanging from a tree in Mississippi.

Authorities discovered the body around 10 a.m. Thursday, according to Claiborne County Sheriff Marvin Lucas. The sheriff’s team and state officials were conducting a ground search for a man reported missing when they discovered the body. “We found him in the woods hanging from a tree,” Lucas tells TIME. “Whether it was a suicide or a homicide is yet to be determined.”

Jason Pack, an FBI agent, confirmed to TIME that local authorities had contacted the FBI and Mississippi Bureau of Investigations to assist with the ongoing investigation.

The Claiborne County sheriff told TIME they had not been able to positively identify the body, though authorities say the body was found about half a mile away from the missing man’s last known residence. The family last saw the missing man on March 2; a missing-persons report had been filed on March 8.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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