Emmett Till's body returns to gravesite

August 28, 2009 1:10:36 PM PDT
On Saturday, Emmett Till's family buried the 14-year-old boy for a second time in a suburban cemetery.Till's body was exhumed earlier this week after 50 years as part of a renewed investigation into the murder.

Seventy-five family members gathered in an Alsip cemetery and watched while Emmett Till was reburied in a new blue casket. Simeon Wright, a cousin who was sleeping in the same bed the night Emmett was taken, described the service as emotional and somber.

"It brought back a lot of memories. I can remember in 1955, I saw Emmett go out of his room. I never got a chance to go to his funeral, but today I got a chance to close that part of history," said Simeon Wright, Emmett Till's cousin.

Fifty years ago, Till was 14 years old and visiting relatives in Mississippi when he was abducted, tortured and killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Two men were tried and acquitted for the murder. One of them later confessed. Both are now dead, but there has long been a belief that at least three more people were involved.

Documentary filmmaker Keith Beauchamp is out to prove that more people were involved. He has spent nine years researching Till's death and found people in Mississippi willing to talk.

"I've been finding eyewitnesses who have never spoken to me about this case and couldn't understand why these people were talking to me," said Keith Beauchamp, documentary filmmaker.

During the trial, the defense argued the body, which was virtually unrecognizable, was not that of Emmett Till. It is for this reason that the FBI must now prove, through DNA testing, that it is him. Once he is formally identified and a cause of death established, federal investigators hope justice can be brought to bear against those who may still be alive, including the woman Till was accused of whistling at, Carolyn Bryant.

"I'm sure she's nervous. I hope she's repentant," said Annie Wright, cousin's wife.

Next in the Emmett Till investigation, DNA testing will be used to confirm once and for all that the body is Till's. Results will take a few weeks. Also in the next few days, plans for a five-minute prayer pause on the 50th anniversary of Till's murder. August 28th marks the day of Till's the kidnapping and lynching.


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