GBI: Foul play not suspected in Greene County hanging of black man

The GBI said while there appears to be no signs of foul play in the death of a black Greene County man found hanging from a tree Monday morning they are ruling nothing out.

The victim, Roosevelt Champion III, 43, was last seen Sunday evening by family members. He was questioned twice last week by Greensboro police investigating the murder of a local white woman but had not been charged, said GBI Special Agent in Charge Joe Wooten.

Due to current tensions nationwide between law enforcement and the black community, Wooten promised greater transparency with the media. The autopsy has been expedited, he said, with results expected Tuesday morning.

“We’re very aware of the attention this is receiving,” Wooten said. “The public deserves answers. This is a very big issue in a small community like this.”

But so far, investigators have uncovered “nothing that showed any immediate signs of struggle,” he said.

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Police discovered a relatively new “orange ratchet strap” around Champion’s neck. Neither his feet nor hands were bound, Wooten said.

Champion’s body was found behind a residence, not his, in the 600 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Greensboro, about 75 miles east of Atlanta. Wooten said his knees were slightly buckled, his feet, dragging the ground.

Wooten said he did not know if Champion suffered from depression or other mental problems. But a neighbor told Channel 2 Action News Champion was “stressed out” following the interviews with police.

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