Surveillance Video Confirms No Foul Play Into Malcolm Harsch's Hanging Death, Police Say

After the body of 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch was found hanging from a tree near a homeless encampment May 31 in Victorville, many took to protest, calling his death suspicious.

Family of Malcolm Harsch

Police said Friday surveillance video from a vacant building near where the body of 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch was found hanging from a tree in Victorville confirms there was no foul play in his death.

Victorville police detectives met with his family members to share the video, and other evidence, per their request.

Family members weren't immediately available for comment. The Los Angeles Times reported his family watched the video and confirmed in a statement that he took his life.

The investigation is still ongoing into Harsch's death after he was found hanging from a tree near a homeless encampment near the Victorville City library May 31.

Officials said there was no foul play, and toxicology results were still pending before they reveal the official cause of death.

Harsch's girlfriend called 911 after she said he was found hanging from a tree and cut down by other members of the homeless encampment. She said she saw him earlier in the day in their shared space before he was found.

Paramedics responded to the dirt field between Circle Drive and Victor Street and tried to resuscitate him.

After the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department made the preliminary determination that his death was a suicide, Harsch's relatives said they were doubtful he took his own life.

"He didn't seem to be depressed to anyone who truly knew him," Harsch's family told reporters. "Everyone who knew our brother was shocked to hear that he allegedly hung himself and don't believe it to be true. The explanation of suicide does not seem plausible."

His family members said investigators told them the father of eight and tattoo artist had blood on his shirt and was found with a USB cord wrapped around his neck. Henry Bennett said he has been Harsch's best friend for two years. Bennett said that while Harsch was homeless and sad because he missed his kids in the days leading up to his death, that he would never kill himself.

"I know my boy, he's not going to do nothing like that," said Bennett. "All he talked about was his kids."

Family members question also why it took the coroner 12 days to perform an autopsy. Activist Najee Ali is now calling for an independent investigation in what he calls a possible lynching.

"We do believe that foul play was involved," said Ali. "We do believe that white nationalism, white racism, white supremacy is on the rise because of the rise of Black Lives Matter."

The death comes as nationwide protests for Black Lives Matter, including protests in Palmdale after another Black man named Robert Fuller was found hanging from a tree near city hall.

City News Service contributed to this report.

Contact Us