Marco McMillian, the openly gay Mississippi mayoral candidate whose body was pulled from a Mississippi River levee last week, was mutilated either before or after his death, according to new information released by his family.

Though a coroner has not given an official cause of death, pending toxicology tests, McMillian's family released a statement yesterday saying "we know that Marco was brutally murdered."

His body was found on Wednesday, February 26, 2013, beaten, dragged and burned (set afire). This was reported in our meeting with the local coroner on two occasions. We were informed that the official autopsy report could take two to four weeks to complete. We feel that this was not a random act of violence based on the condition of the body when it was found. Marco, nor anyone, should have their lives end in this manner.

The Associated Press later reported confirmation that "McMillian had some bruises and there were burns on at least one area of his body."

Mississippi police charged 22-year-old Lawrence Reed with McMillian's slaying after Reed, whose relationship to McMillian is unknown, crashed the candidate's SUV in a Tennessee highway accident last week. Reed would later tell police where they could find McMillian's body.

Before he was killed, McMillian, who was running for mayor of Clarksdale, was the first openly gay, viable candidate for public office in the history of Mississippi.

[Image via]