DOJ officially closes investigation into Emmett Till killing for second time: CNN

The Department of Justice has for the second time officially closed its investigation into the killing of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old who died in one of the most notorious murders of the civil rights era.

Two white men confessed to torturing and killing the teenager, who was visiting his family in Mississippi from Chicago when he was abducted in 1955. The two men admitted to the killing in an interview with Look magazine but were acquitted by an all-white jury weeks after Till's killing. 

An investigation for new evidence was prompted after Professor Timothy Tyson claimed that a woman who accused 14-year-old Till of making sexual advances toward her recanted her accusation. The woman's accusations had directly led to Till's abduction and killing.


However, the DOJ's investigation did not yield results that proved the woman lied to federal investigators, CNN reported. 

The Justice Department had previously reopened the case before closing it in 2007 after it determined that no one could be prosecuted given the limited evidence available and the statute of limitations for the case, CNN noted.

Accounts of Till's encounter with the 20-year-old Carolyn Bryant Donham differ. 

Donham had initially testified that Till grabbed her hand and said he had been with "white women before."

When presented that testimony, Tyson later claimed Donham told him "that part's not true," according to CNN.

Given Tyson's claims, federal investigators spoke to Donham again; however, CNN reported that she denied that she had ever recanted her previous testimony.

After Till's body was recovered in Mississippi and returned to his family in Chicago, the family had an open-casket funeral to show what had happened to Till in Mississippi. 

The murder and the acquittal of the two men accused of killing Till was a defining moment in the brutal treatment of Black people in the South, and Till became an icon of the civil rights movement.