Police have charged 22-year-old Lawrence Reed in the death of Clarksdale, Miss. mayoral candidate Marco McMillian, the Associated Press reports. McMillian, thought to be the first openly gay politician to run for public office in Mississippi, was found dead near a levee in Coahoma County Wednesday.
Reed was found at the scene of a head-on collision in McMillian’s SUV Tuesday, prompting police to search for the 34-year-old politician, who was not in the car. The sheriff’s department found McMillian’s body in the woods about 30 miles from the crash on Feb 27. Police have not released a motive for the crime, but Jared Keith, McMillian’s campaign manager, had earlier told ABC News Radio he did not think the death was politically motivated or a hate crime. The body underwent an autopsy and the cause of death has not been made public.
“We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life,” a statement from McMillian’s camp said.
The news of McMillian’s untimely death shocked residents of his hometown, Clarksdale, where he was hoping to win the mayoral seat soon to be left vacant by Mayor Henry Espy Jr., brother of Mike Espy, a former congressman and U.S. agriculture secretary. McMillian, who graduated magna cum laude from Jackson State and earned a master’s degree from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota in philanthropy and development, was CEO of a nonprofit consulting firm, MWM & Associates, according to his website.