The first-ever openly gay candidate for mayor in the state of Mississippi was found dead near a river levy on Wednesday morning, and police told The Associated Press they believe someone killed him.

Marco McMillian (pictured left), 34, was running for mayor of Clarksdale as a Democrat. Police did not indicate the cause of death.

Authorities were searching for McMillian after discovering on Tuesday that his vehicle had been hit by another car but he was missing, leaving behind the 22-year-old driver Lawrence Reed, who was airlifted to a nearby hospital.

One suspect is in custody, police said. That person's identity has not been confirmed, but unnamed official sources told The Clarion Ledger that Reed is being held in police custody. No charges have been filed and it is not clear if he is the suspect.

McMillian was CEO of MWM & Associates, a consulting firm that specializes in assisting nonprofit organizations.

"Words cannot describe our grief at the loss of our dear friend, Marco McMillian," a post to his campaign's Facebook page reads. "The shocking news of Marco’s death is beyond difficult for us to process. We remember Marco as a bold and passionate public servant, whose faith informed every aspect of his life. Tragically, that life has been cut short. At this time of loss, we ask that you keep the family and loved ones of Marco in your prayers."


Photo: Facebook.