Video Shows California Man’s Hanging Death Was Apparent Suicide, Family Says

Malcolm Harsch (Credit: Family Photo)

The hanging death of a California man that made national headlines was the result of an apparent suicide, a family spokesman said Friday evening.

“On behalf of the family of Malcolm Harsch unfortunately it seems he did take his own life,” Najee Ali said in a statement to the media. “The Victorville Police Department officials released new video evidence to family members.”

“The family thanks everyone for their help and support! Without our protests (there) wouldn’t have been an investigation or closures for the family,” Ali added Friday in a Facebook post.

Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree near a homeless encampment in Victorville on May 31. The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, which was also working the case, said at the time that there were no signs of foul play. However, Harsch’s family countered that he had much to live for and called for a thorough investigation.

People in the community also feared that Harsch, who was Black, was the victim of a racist attack.

Related Story: Bodies of Two California Men Found Hanging From Trees – Families Want Answers

The sheriff’s department issued a statement Friday updating the community on the case.

“Detectives obtained surveillance video from a vacant building near the location where Mr. Harsch’s body was discovered. The video confirmed the absence of foul play,” the statement said. “The evidence from the case, including the surveillance video, was shown to the family members per their request.”

The sheriff’s department added, “On June 19, 2020, the investigation was explained to members of the local media and they were allowed to view evidence from the case, including the surveillance video.”

On the day of his death, the sheriff’s department issued a press release saying Harsch was homeless. The release added that a woman called authorities just after 7 a.m.  and said “her boyfriend hanged himself.” The woman reported people in the encampment cut Harsch down and performed CPR, but they were unable to revive him.

Sheriff’s officials said the cause of death won’t be released until toxicology tests come back.

The investigation into the death of Robert Fuller, another Southern California man found hanging from a tree, continues in Palmdale. Fuller, 24, was found in a park near Palmdale City Hall on June 10, authorities said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told the media his death appeared to be a suicide, but members of the community accused the department of rushing the case. The sheriff’s department subsequently reopened its investigation after several protests.

In another development, Fuller’s half-brother, Terron Jammal Boone, was shot and killed on June 17, during a deputy-involved shooting, according to the Fuller family’s attorney.

The L.A. County sheriff’s department said Boone died during a gun battle as deputies searched for a kidnap, spousal abuse and assault suspect.