Ferguson, MO – The police said they received a 911 call from the family of Danye Jones, 24, reporting he had killed himself Oct. 17 after Jones was found hanging from a tree with a bed sheet tied around his neck.
However, Melissa McKinnies’ family found Jones, 24, early in the morning and she made a claim that Jones was murdered on social media.
McKinnies told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that she knew her son did not kill himself. She claims he was targeted and murdered in retaliation for her activism.
McKinnies helped organize protests in the aftermath of the 2014 Michael Brown shooting.
She claimed that people had made threats to her at protests and she believed someone wanted to kill her son.
The woman said Jones was upbeat and not suicidal and did not know how to tie the types of knot used in the noose. McKinnies also said the sheet that was used did not belong to her family.
Jones packed an overnight bad which had been left on the patio. She said that may suggest he left with someone he trusted who then killed him.
McKinnies said no one in the family knew how the hanging occurred.
Her claim has gone viral on social media with several media organizations reporting it as fact, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
St. Louis County Police said they thought Jones’ death was by suicide. Police said there were no signs of a struggle or trauma to the body. And the family reported it as a suicide when the called 911. The cause of death is pending results from toxicology tests.
"Detectives, based on all the physical evidence and the current thorough investigation, they are investigating it as a suicide," St. Louis County Spokesman Shawn McGuire said in an email, according to CBS News.
However, on Facebook McKinnies posted that she was going to St. Louis County Justice Center in Clayton to stage a protest and demand the case be investigated as a murder and not a suicide.
Locals in the area have a history of pushing a conspiracy theory that people who protested the shooting of Michael Brown are targets of a hit squad.
In May 2017, Edward Crawford fatally shot himself in the head.
Crawford was pictured in Robert Cohen's iconic photograph which showed him throwing a tear gas canister back at police during the rioting after Michael Brown's death.
Crawford's friends were with him when he shot himself, and told police that Crawford was talking about how upset he was over "personal matters." They heard him rummaging for something in the back seat and then he shot himself in the head.
Crawford's father, said that he believed that the shooting was accidental and that Crawford did not appear suicidal.
Following the announcement of the self-inflicted gunshot wound, Missouri State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal took to Twitter to let people know that "Ferguson's hero" was "shot to death," making no mention that the shooting was self-inflicted.
In a follow-up tweet she made her position pretty clear, "Thank you. It is now not coincidental. There is a murderer targeting activists from #Ferguson. #WeAreNotInvisible #Resist"
Her tweet was apparently referencing the murder of Darren Seals, in addition to Crawford.
Seals, an activist and Black Lives Matter supporter, was found shot dead inside a burning vehicle in St. Louis County just a few miles away from Ferguson.
At the time of his death, there was a widespread conspiracy theory on social media that Seals was murdered by a police hit squad. His murder remains unsolved.