Whatever his prospects for winning the coming mayoral election in his conservative hometown of Clarksdale, Miss., Marco McMillian was widely considered to be a man on the rise. So word spread fast when his SUV was involved in a wreck this week, and he was nowhere to be found. The discovery of the openly gay candidate's body near a Mississippi River levee yesterday stunned residents of Clarksdale, a Blues mecca in the flatlands of the Mississippi Delta.
Authorities had been looking for the 34-year-old since Tuesday morning when a man crashed the candidate's SUV into another vehicle on US Highway 49. McMillian was not in the car. Authorities are now investigating McMillian's death as a homicide, and said a person of interest was in custody, but released few other details. A campaign rep described McMillian's run as noteworthy; he may have been the first openly gay man to be a viable candidate for public office in the state. McMillian had been lauded by Ebony Magazine in 2004 as one of the nation's "30 up-and-coming African Americans" under age 30. (Read more Marco McMillian stories.)