Mamie Till Mobley’s decision in 1955 to display her murdered son Emmett’s body under glass might have kept his remains intact until the day federal investigators were finally ready to investigate his death, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Till’s casket and body was exhumed near Chicago Wednesday as authorities try to bring to account those responsible for his murder 50 years ago in Mississippi after he whistled as a white woman. The vault was taken to Stroger Hospital, where a CT scan was performed. The body, still beneath the clear cover under which it was displayed at Till’s 1955 funeral, was described by sources as being remarkably well-preserved. The grotesque swelling that disfigured Till’s head had apparently receded, sources said.
The body was to be transferred to the Cook County medical examiner’s office for an autopsy. No autopsy was performed after the murder, which allowed lawyers for the two men charged in Till’s death, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam, to successfully argue that, without a formal identification of the body and cause of death, the accused could not be convicted of murder. At the time, only Till’s family identified the body. The autopsy will definitively prove Till’s identity. Family members have already submitted DNA samples for comparison. The examination of Till’s body might provide other information to investigators.