1955 Unserved Arrest Warrant in Emmett Till’s Case Found, Family Seeks Arrest

1955 Unserved Arrest Warrant in Emmett Till's Case Found, Family Seeks Arrest
1955 Unserved Arrest Warrant in Emmett Till's Case Found, Family Seeks Arrest (Images: Screenshot/YouTube/Today)

A team looking for evidence about the lynching of Black teenager Emmett Till in a Mississippi courthouse basement discovered an unsealed warrant charging a white woman in his 1955 abduction, and family members of the victim want officials to ultimately arrest her nearly 70 years later.

A warrant for the arrest of Carolyn Bryant Donham — identified on the document as “Mrs. Roy Bryant” — was unearthed last week by the team inside a folder which had been held in a box, according to Leflore County Circuit Clerk Elmus Stockstill.

He explained that records are held in boxes by decade, but there was nothing else to suggest where the warrant, dated Aug. 29, 1955, might be.

“They narrowed it down between the ’50s and ’60s and got lucky,” said Stockstill, who certified the warrant as genuine.

Members of the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation and two Till relatives took part in the search: cousin Deborah Watts, the foundation’s head, and her daughter Teri Watts.

Family members want officials to use the warrant to apprehend Donham, who was married to one of two white men tried and exonerated just weeks after Till was kidnapped from a relative’s home in the evening, killed, and dropped into a river.

“Serve it and charge her,” Teri Watts said.

District Attorney Dewayne Richardson, whose department would prosecute a case, refused to comment on the warrant but referenced a December Justice Department document on the Till case, which stated that no prosecution was feasible.

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