(CNN) – The investigation of the murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till, barbarous even in an era in which blacks in the South were subjected to untold viciousness, has been reopened based on "new information," according to a US Justice Department report to Congress.
The 1955 slaying was listed in a March report among "activities" the department was pursuing under the 2007 unsolved civil rights crime act that bears Emmett's name. The act paves the way for the department to "expeditiously investigate" unsolved pre-1980 civil rights murders.
"Several interested parties" asked the Justice Department in 2004 whether any surviving suspects could be prosecuted. After reviewing available information, the department determined that the statute of limitations prevented any federal prosecution, according to the report. Three years later, a Mississippi grand jury declined to issue new charges.
"The Till case has been reopened by DOJ based upon the discovery of new information," the department said in March. It did not elaborate. The department declined to comment on the matter.
Emmett's death remains a symbol of "enduring American injustice" to this day, said Duke University scholar Timothy Tyson, author of "The Blood of Emmett Till." The book included the bombshell admission from Carolyn Bryant -- by then, Carolyn Bryant Donham -- that she made up the damning allegations of Emmett's verbal and physical advances.
Tyson surmised that the newly discovered evidence cited by DOJ could be her admission. But it was hardly new, he said. He handed over records of the interview as well as other research for his book to the FBI in 2017, after his book published.
Even so, her admission "wasn't the morning news to me," Tyson said. "I think everybody's known that since 1955. Nobody thought she was telling the truth to begin with and they didn't choose to prosecute her then."