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Investigation continues into Clinch County suspicious hanging death

Published: Dec. 7, 2020 at 6:19 PM EST
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CLINCH COUNTY, Ga. (WCTV) - An 18-year-old boy was found hanging dead outside of a Homerville motel early Saturday morning. The community was outraged after a photo of it went viral.

WCTV has decided not to show that photo, since it is graphic in nature.

The City is currently investigating the incident.

Those closest to the victim, Omari Bryant, say they’re convinced his death was not a suicide.

Although a sign at Southern Pines Inn claims it has 24-hour surveillance, management told WCTV all of their six video cameras were not working at the time.

Homerville Police officers responded to the motel around 7 a.m. Saturday, finding Bryant hanging from the front of the building by a rope around his neck.

19-year-old Omari Bryant was found hanging dead outside of his motel room early Saturday...
19-year-old Omari Bryant was found hanging dead outside of his motel room early Saturday morning, and his "suspicious death" remains under investigation.(WCTV)

“It hasn’t been determined whether it’s suicide or a homicide at this point, and that’s why they’re investigating,” Homerville City Attorney Jeff Helms said.

Helms says HPD’s Criminal Investigation Division is working the case. GBI officials say they’re not assisting in the investigation, but they are conducting an autopsy for it.

“The City and whoever else is involved in the investigation will do the best job they can to get answers,” Helms said.

The Clinch County Sheriff’s Office says if it was handling the case, the first thing it would do is contact the GBI.

Pheron Cooper and Octavis Butler were classmates with Bryant at Clinch County High School and were good friends.

“I was asleep,” Cooper said. “My dad came in the room. He was like, ‘Some boy is hanging up there at the roof,’ and I didn’t think nothing of it.”

Cooper and Butler say they do not believe Bryant would take his own life.

“I think it’s something behind the scenes about this,” Butler said.

Another close friend of Bryant, Jocelyn Walker, says the two grew up together. She also says she does not believe he would hurt himself.

“He wasn’t somebody that would do something like this and put himself on display,” Walker said. “He wouldn’t want nobody looking at him in that kind of situation.”

According to police documents, Bryant was arrested by the Clinch County Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 30 for stabbing two people. Both victims survived, but Bryant faced three felony charges.

He was released on bond two days later; just three days before his death.

On Monday, Bryant’s body was taken to a GBI Crime Lab in Pooler. The City is awaiting the autopsy results.

In the meantime, groups throughout the community are coming together for what they’re calling “Justice for Omari.”

Community members rally together in fight for what they’re calling “Justice for Omari.”
Community members rally together in fight for what they’re calling “Justice for Omari.”(WCTV)
Community members rally together in fight for what they’re calling “Justice for Omari.”
Community members rally together in fight for what they’re calling “Justice for Omari.”(WCTV)
Community members rally together in fight for what they’re calling “Justice for Omari.”
Community members rally together in fight for what they’re calling “Justice for Omari.”(WCTV)

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