The Justice Department says investigators have found no evidence that the hanging death of a man in Mississippi was a homicide.

The agency said in a news release Friday that the civil rights investigation into the death of Otis Byrd has been closed.

Byrd was last seen alive on March 2 at a Vicksburg Casino. The 54-year-old was found March 19, hanging by a bed sheet from a branch of a tree behind his rented house in Claiborne County. Family members have insisted Byrd would not kill himself.

Lawyers hired by the family have said they will conduct an investigation separate from the one pursued by state and federal authorities.