Melissa McKinnies found her son Danye Jones hanging from a tree in their backyard.
Ferguson activist Melissa McKinnies discovered her son Danye Jones, 24, hanging from a tree in their backyard on October 17 and although police think Jones’ death is a “suicide” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, McKinnies believes her son was lynched.
“A mother knows her child. He was not suicidal at all, at all,” McKinnies said to KMOV-TV. “Saying that he committed suicide, no, you’re going to respect him. What it appears to be to us is that somebody took my son.”
McKinnies said Jones had bruises on his body and both her and police said that a chair was found near his body. Family members said that the sheets used to hang Jones didn’t come from their house and believe the knots used to tie the sheets were too advanced for Jones to make.
“He was in good spirits,” McKinnies said, adding that Jones was in the process of starting a real estate business.
McKinnies first announced the news of Jones’ death on Facebook.
“They lynched my baby,” the activist wrote on a post that included graphic images of her son. The since-deleted post (which McKinnies said was deleted by Facebook) has been circulated throughout social media.
While speaking with KMOV-TV, McKinnies also said she thinks her family is being targeted. In the last two months, the family has received death threats on social media and someone drove up to their house.
“They watched my house and when my husband and my son would approach the car, they would drive off,” McKinnies said.
A family news conference and rally in support of Jones is expected for Thursday.
Jones’ death is reminiscent of the string of Ferguson activist deaths that have occurred since 2014. DeAndre Joshua was found in his car with two gunshot wounds to the head the night of the Ferguson verdict in 2014. Two years later, Darren Seals was found dead with two gunshot wounds to the head in his car too. In both instances, the cars were set on fire. In 2017, Edward Crawford, the activist who became viral from an iconic Ferguson protest pictureshowing him grabbing an active tear gas canister fired from police and throwing the explosive back at them, was found shot to death in his car too. Police believe Crawford shot himself in the back seat of his car either in an attempted suicide or by accident.