Emmett Till’s Family Reacts To News That DOJ Closing Murder Investigation After 66 Years

The Justice Department said they don’t have enough evidence that Carolyn Bryant lied.

On Monday (December 6), the Department of Justice announced it is closing its investigation into the murder of Emmett Till. Now, his family is reacting to the new development in the case.

"Today is a day that we’ll never forget," Rev. Wheeler Parker, Till’s cousin, said at a press conference, according to ABC News.

Parker noted his cousin’s murder case had never really been enthusiastically investigated, especially the immediate years after it happened.

"Officially, the Emmett Till case has been closed after 66 years," Parker said. "For 66 years we have suffered pain for his loss, and I suffered tremendously because of the way that they painted him."

RELATED: Black History Month Tribute: Emmett Till’s Childhood Home Is Now An Official Chicago Landmark

Till was 14 years old when he was killed in 1955. He was accused of whistling at and making sexual advances toward Carolyn Bryant, a white woman. He was kidnapped, badly beaten and found in the Tallahatchie River several days later. Till’s murder subsequently became one of the most famous example of racist vigilante justice in American history.

An investigation into Till’s killing was reopened in 2018, following the publication of Timothy Tyson’s book The Blood of Emmett Till. The work alleges Bryant had recanted her testimony that Till had grabbed her and uttered obscenities.

Bryant denied she recanted her testimony in an interview with the FBI, who concluded that there was insufficient evidence to prove that she lied to them after she denied that she recanted her testimony in The Blood Of Emmett Till. With a lack of new evidence, the FBI closed their investigation.

"I'm not surprised, but my heart is broken," Thelma Wright Edwards, Till's cousin, said, according to ABC News. "I pinned diapers on Emmett. I lived with him, he was like a brother to me. I have no hate in my heart, but I had hoped we could get an apology. But that didn’t happen, nothing was settled. The case is closed, and we have to go on from here."

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