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Emmett Till

Source: Kieth Beauchamp / Till the Movie



A Mississippi search team investigating the horrific lynching of Emmett Till has found an unserved warrant reportedly charging the woman involved in the young teen’s vicious 1955 kidnapping. Now, Till’s relatives are urging officials to arrest her more than 60 years after the chilling incident.

An official from the Leflore County Clerk said that last week, the search group found an arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant Donham in the basement of a Mississippi courthouse tucked away in a file folder. Her name was identified as “Mrs. Roy Bryant” on the decades-old document. It’s still unclear as to where the warrant came from, but Elmus Stockstill, a representative from the county clerk told AP News that the record, dated Aug. 29, 1955, was authentic.

Till’s cousin, Deborah Watts and her daughter, Terri Watts, were with the search team during the historic discovery. Now, they want authorities to officially arrest Donham for the brutal slaying. Donham, now 80, was married to one of the men tried and acquitted for abducting, dragging and lynching 14-year-old Till years ago.

“Serve it and charge her,” said Teri, who helps lead the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation.

The warrant was reportedly publicized at the time

Over the last year, Emmett Till’s emotional story has been pushed back into the spotlight, largely due to Keith Beauchamp’s documentary “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till.” Since its release, a slew of new evidence has surfaced that could be used to formally prosecute Donham.

On Aug. 24, 1955, Till, a Chicago native, was visiting relatives in Money, Mississippi when he entered a convenience store where Donham was working. She claimed the young teen whistled and grabbed her during their brief interaction. New evidence suggests that Donham told her then-husband Roy Bryant and his half-brother J.W. Milam about the incident, prompting them to kidnap Till from his great uncle’s home in Leflore County and lynch him.

According to multiple reports, the arrest warrant was publicized at the time of his brutal murder, but a sheriff from the Leflore County allegedly told reporters that he didn’t want to “bother” Donham at the time because she had two children to care for.

Donham previously admitted to lying about her encounter with Till

As MADAMENOIRE previously reported, federal officials reopened the case in 2017 after Donham admitted that she lied about Till’s alleged harassment during an interview in Timothy B. Tyson’s book “The Blood of Emmett Till.” However, relatives of the woman have maintained her innocence. Tyson allegedly told the Justice Department that he was unable to show recordings or documentation to prove Donham’s confession, but that didn’t stop the teen’s family from seeking justice.

In March, Till’s relatives were joined by 250,000 people as they confronted Mississippi authorities with a petition to reopen the historic case and formally prosecute Donham, who now lives in North Carolina.

“We demand that the state of Mississippi hold Carolyn Bryant Donham accountable for her role in the kidnapping and lynching of Emmett Louis Till,” Watts said during her speech at the time.

“It’s important for you to know that Emmett’s murder remains unsolved and the last living accomplice in the murder case is Carolyn Bryant. And yes, she is alive. She denies that she recanted her story that Emmett made sexual advances towards her…and her family stands by the lie that she told in 1955. She lied and Emmett died,” she added.


Following the news of the warrant, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves told reporters that he would be looking into the matter. Watch his statement below.


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