? 17-Year-Old Hung in Louisiana ?

Demarcus Keel (left), 18, and Timothy Page, 17, fondly recall their friend, Marcus Phillips, 17, whose body was found hanging in a tree in Pineville. Near them is a makeshift memorial to Phillips.

Demarcus Keel (left), 18, and Timothy Page, 17, fondly recall their friend, Marcus Phillips, 17, whose body was found hanging in a tree in Pineville. Near them is a makeshift memorial to Phillips.


This early July, 17 year old Marcus Phillips was found hanging from a tree in Louisiana… I have not heard much about this case, but what I do know is that it is still under investigation.  They have yet to rule out suicide, but close friends and family say that due to his character, not only is it highly unlikely but plainly impossible in their eyes.  Many have speculated that the body was not killed on the tree, but was done somewhere else and placed on the tree as a show or “public statement” afterwards… whatever may be the case, I am praying for the family and friends during this hard time… I have a strong sense of foul play because not many suicide cases would want to be so overtly public with their decision and I don’t believe it for one bit… Pop the bubble for an article from the county’s local newspaper

• July 7, 2009 PINEVILLE — Police are running down every lead they get in connection with the death of a teen found hanging in a tree Sunday morning in Pineville. While Pineville Police officers haven’t classified the death as either a homicide or a suicide — it is an “open investigation” — the family is adamant that Marcus Phillips didn’t kill himself.

“I am not going to let this go by as if he killed himself,” Phillips’ older sister, Victoria Phillips, said Monday. “He didn’t do this to himself.” Marcus Phillips was found hanging from a tree in an empty lot on the corner of Sanders and Lee streets, Pineville Police Sgt. Darryl Basco said. A rope was around Phillips’ neck, and the rope was tied to a chain that has been hanging in that tree for years, neighbors said. The chain and rope both were removed sometime before Monday.

Jack Evans was the one who discovered the teen’s body. “I came out here at 7:30 to drink some coffee and smoke a cigarette and heard something in the grass so I turned around to look, and then I saw it,” he said, doing then exactly as he did that morning. “I stood up and wiped my eyes and looked again and said, ‘Oh, my God, there’s a black kid hanging in the tree. Somebody has killed him.’ So I called the police.”

Evans said Phillips’ body was partially on the ground with his knees about six to eight inches from the ground and his arms hanging out in front of him. Both his mouth and his eyes were open. “It sure does look suspicious to me,” Evans said. “All he had to do was stand up. That’s instinct.” Evans said that although he didn’t know Phillips, he had seen the teen often walking up and down the street, and said Phillips had always been pleasant. “I want some closure,” Evans said. “Something like this happening in our neighborhood, I want to know who and why. Every time I walk out here I see him hanging there. It is so sad. He was just a 17-year-old kid.”

Evans said it doesn’t seem likely that Phillips or anyone else hanged him there to die. Instead, he suspects the teen was killed somewhere else and brought there. Basco said police hope to have more answers today and are doing their best to keep the family informed. “Right now we are treating this as an open investigation,” he said. “We are waiting for preliminary results from the coroner.” Phillips’ aunt, Willie May Hayward, said looking for those answers is what is keeping the family going.

On Monday afternoon, about 20 relatives and friends of the teen were gathered under the very branch from which Phillips had been found hanging. A makeshift memorial complete with flowers, candles, a T-shirt signed by friends and letters had formed at the base of the tree where the teen was found. “He was a wonderful child,” Hayward said. “I know he didn’t do it to himself. And right now what we are doing is trying to find closure. The family is going crazy looking for that.”

While in the lot, Victoria Phillips talked to many of the neighborhood children gathered, asking them when they’d last seen her brother and where he’d been. The last time she saw him was Saturday around 1 p.m. when he told her that instead of going to Boyce with some of the other family members that he would be going with his ex-girlfriend to watch fireworks from the Red River levee.

But what adds fuel to the story of Phillips’ death possibly being a suicide is the fact that he told family that he was going to kill himself Friday. Victoria Phillips said her brother called their sister Friday night and said he and his girlfriend had just broken up and that he wanted to kill himself and then hung up the phone. The woman drove around the neighborhood looking for him but later got a call saying he was at a friend’s house and everything was OK. “He came home, played with his nieces and nephews, cleaned my sister’s shoes and was happy,” she said. “When he left the house Saturday, he was happy, and everything was fine.”

Marcus Phillips’ closest friend, Demarcus Keel, 18, of Pineville, said Phillips didn’t mean anything by saying he was going to kill himself, instead he was just mad and upset at the time. “I know he wouldn’t do something like that,” Keel said while sitting under the tree where Phillips was found. “He’s stronger than that. When a friend told me, I thought, ‘Lord, this can’t be true.’ I still don’t believe it.” He described his friend as talkative and said they enjoyed playing basketball and listening to music — especially Lil Wayne and Zero. Another friend, Timothy Page, 17, has known Phillips since the two went to school together at Pineville Junior High. He said that when he heard the news, he just broke down crying. “I just had to come here,” Page said. “Out of everyone, it had to be one of our homeboys. It’s someone you least expect.”
By Abbey Brown •

2 Responses to “? 17-Year-Old Hung in Louisiana ?”
  1. Tiffany says:

    I miss him so much…what did he do..

  2. jamie says:

    he was my best friend and i miss him soooooo much i wish he hadn’t gotten in that way cause that wasn’t fair for his family i feel really bad

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