Just weeks after an unserved arrest warrant was found for Emmett Till’s accuser, Carolyn Bryant Donham has been found in Kentucky.
According to the Daily Mail, Carolyn Bryant Donham is 88 years old and living in Kentucky. A Daily Mail reporter asked her son, Thomas Bryant, 71, if his mother would comment on Till. He reportedly shook his head no with his mother standing behind him. The outlet claims she is legally blind and receives hospice care in her home.
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In August of 1955, 21-year-old Carolyn Bryant falsely accused 14-year-old Emmett Till of whistling at her in a store (he reportedly had a lisp and was unable to whistle.) Till, who was visiting from Chicago, was in Mississippi for the summer spending time with family. Bryant’s accusation led to him being abducted, tortured and murdered by Donham’s then-husband, Roy Bryant, and his half-brother J.W. Milam. The child’s body was weighted down and thrown into the Tallahatchie River.
Bryant and Milam were tried on murder charges, but were quickly acquitted by an all-white jury. Just months later, when protected against double jeopardy, the pair confessed to the crime in a paid interview with Look magazine.
An investigation into Till’s killing was reopened in 2018, following the publication of Tyson’s book, which alleged Bryant had recanted her testimony that Till had grabbed her and uttered obscenities. However, 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. The FBI closed their investigation.
Last month, an unserved warrant charging Carolyn Bryant for the 1955 kidnapping of Emmett Till was found in the basement of a Mississippi courthouse. Emmett Till’s family called for her arrest. Mississippi’s Attorney General Lynn Fitch said there is no plan to prosecute Bryant. According to the Associated Press, Michelle Williams, chief of staff for Fitch, asserted on July 15, “There’s no new evidence to open the case back up.”
Williams also noted that the Justice Department previously investigated without filing charges and closed the case in December.