This is the first case in this series where the victim is the loved one of someone involved in the Ferguson Uprising. And this is the second death ruled a suicide – though this one is definitely more questioned. So, what led to Danye Jones’ death, and why was it ruled the way it was? Let’s explore.
Who Was Danye?
According to his loved ones, Danye Jones was a popular, upbeat young man. He had an entrepreneurial spirit, and at the time of his death was working to get a real estate business off of the ground. He loved his family, who described him as a fighter.
How Was Danye Involved With the Uprising?
By all accounts, Danye wasn’t directly involved with the Uprising. His mother, however, was very active in the protests that were the seed of what became the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s imperative to note that several of her contemporaries had received direct threats on their lives and families.
On October 17, 2018, Danye Jones was found hanging from a tree in the backyard of the home he lived in with his mother. The ligature was made from a bedsheet. According to his mother, there were lumps on his face as if he had been hit. Officers were called to the scene. When they arrived, they claimed that Danye’s body had been taken down from the tree. They nearly immediately considered the death the result of suicide.
The theories here are that this was a suicide or that this was a targeted murder. Clearly, the investigators believed this a suicide. The only basis behind this theory seemingly is that hanging is a common method of suicide, and that he had texted his sister “I’m sorry” the previous night. Investigators (according to all reporting I have seen online) ruled the death a suicide immediately, and investigated it as such. This is irresponsible at best, and deliberate at worst. By not considering all possibilities, different avenues of investigation get missed or outright ignored in favor of the chosen theory.
It is clear that Danye’s mother and many, many other believe this death to have been a murder staged as a suicide. We’ve discussed lynching as a hate crime in other posts, and that is the theory here – that Danye was lynched because his mother was so involved with the Ferguson Uprising. Danye had recently bought land and hand plans for it. Plus, according to Danye’s mother, he would not have had the knowledge to tie the knots found in the sheet, and that the sheet itself was not one from their home. There was also a packed bag found on the back porch, suggesting that Danye had planned to go somewhere the night he was killed.
The good news with this case is that, while it may not be satisfactorily “solved,” there is still news and coverage of it. If you are interested in listening to far more in-depth coverage of Danye’s death, I highly suggest listening to the podcast After the Uprising from iHeartMedia.