Relatives of a 38-year-old man whose body was found hanging from a tree in Southern California said they believe he died by suicide, a family spokesman said Friday.
“On behalf of the family of Malcolm Harsch unfortunately it seems he did take his own life,” Najee Ali said in a statement. “The Victorville Police Department officials released new video evidence to family members.”
Harsch’s body was found cut down from a tree May 31 in Victorville, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said. He was one of two Black men found dead in apparent hangings about 53 miles apart.
The sheriff’s department showed Harsch’s family members “surveillance video from a vacant building” related to his death, it said in a statement. An autopsy was conducted June 12.
“Although there remains no sign of foul play, the forensic pathologist is waiting for toxicology results before assigning the cause and manner of death,” the department said.
The other Southern California case involved Robert Fuller, 24, who was found hanging from a tree on June 10 near Palmdale City Hall. The case, which Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials said was believed to be suicide, prompted demonstrations and calls for deeper investigations.
The FBI, the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said would investigate both deaths.
The FBI said this week it would also investigate the discovery of a fake body reportedly hanging from a noose near Lake Merritt in Oakland, California. Mayor Libby Schaaf said nooses were found hanging from trees in the park.
Fuller’s case took a turn this week when a man killed in a shootout with Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies turned out to be his half-brother, according to a lawyer for Fuller’s family, NBC Los Angeles reported.
The department identified the man as Terron Jammal Boone, 31. He was being sought by authorities on 21 felony charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, domestic violence and criminal threats, when he was fatally shot Wednesday night in the Mojave Desert.