Friday, April 23, 2004 · Last updated 8:11 p.m. PT
Washington man found hanging from tree
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WOODVILLE, Miss.—Family members say a man found Friday hanging from a tree in rural Mississippi had returned home to fight for his family's land.
The body of 55-year-old Roy Veal was discovered in Wilkinson County, relatives said.
Warren Strain, spokesman for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, said the body was discovered about midday in a wooded area of the county near Woodville. Authorities declined to identify the man pending notification of relatives.
But Doris Gordon, a Woodville native now living in San Francisco, said the victim was her brother, Roy Veal of Washington state. Thelma Veal, the man's mother, also confirmed the identity.
"They found my brother hanging from a tree with a hood over his head and some papers burned at his feet," Gordon said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from San Francisco. "It's awful. We don't know who did it."
Oliver James, 72, one of the men who led authorities to Veal's body, said there appeared to be a blue-flowered cover over Veal's head. James said one of the investigators said it appeared to be a pillow case. James also said Veal's truck was parked about 50 feet away.
Gordon, who said she would be returning to Woodville as soon as possible, said her brother had returned to the family home in Wilkinson County "to help with a lawsuit pending against our family."
"There are people trying to take part of our land because they apparently think there is oil on the land," she said.
Strain said the Highway Patrol's Bureau of Investigation was looking into the death.
County Coroner Travis Sharp said he had not been contacted; the sheriff's department declined any comment.
FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said agents were available if needed but at this point the investigation was being handled by local authorities.
Officials at the chancery clerk's office in Woodville said a lawsuit pending in chancery court names several members of the Thelma Veal family, including Doris Gordon and apparently Roy Veal, as defendants.
Chancery Clerk Thomas Tolliver Jr., said the case involved title to land in the county and damages.
Thelma Veal said the lawsuit sought portions of land owned by her late husband and his brothers. She said her son had obtained a map of the property and was collecting documents to prove the family owned the land.
"Now they have found my son hung back there on a tree," said Thelma Veal, 79.
She said her husband owned more than 40 acres in the area southwest of Woodville and that it was being sought because it might have oil deposits.
There is oil production in that area of the state.
"My husband's daddy bought this land in 1926 and I've been here ever since I was 18," she said. "It's our land."
A brother named Roy Veal, just got lynched in Mississippi on Friday. He was the cousin of one of my best friends. Roy lived in Seattle and had gone to Mississippi to help his family secure their property that a white man was trying to take from them (oil was found on the land). Please circulate this article to your list, to people you know who have list and the media. This needs national and international media coverage ASAP. Roy was a Vietnam vet who survived Vietnam only to come home and be lynched in Mississippi. He was found hanging from a Mississippi tree on Friday morning. For more information people can call the Sheriff Pip Jackson, of the Wilkerson county Mississippi Sheriff's office. The sheriff is black. His number is: 601 888-3511. They are not giving up much information but should still be flooded with calls demanding a federal investigation.THEY ARE STILL LYCHING US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DEMAND A FEDERAL INVESTIGATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!CALL THE PRESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!THIS IS A 2004 VARIATION OF THE 1955 EMMETT TILL STORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SPREAD THE WORD,
Dr. Jewel Loretta Crawford