Police: Man found hanged in St. Paul park died by suicide

Photos posted to Facebook raised questions about the man's death.
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A man's death in a St. Paul park has been ruled a suicide, the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office told GoMN. 

The St. Paul Police Department says the man was found hanging from a tree in Indian Mounds Regional Park around 5:40 a.m. Tuesday. 

Photos of the man's body were posted to Facebook, with police saying they've "generated many questions."

Among those are whether it was actually suicide. A Black Lives Matter St. Paul Facebook page is claiming the man was lynched, accusing police of lying about it. (The initial post said it was a black man, but the post has since been updated to remove the person's race.) 

Both the St. Paul Police Department and the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office have told GoMN the man found in the park was a 50-year-old white man, with the medical examiner saying he's been identified as Michael R. Bringle of St. Paul. 

When asked whether there was any indication the man didn't die by suicide, the medical examiner's office said "no," noting Bringle's cause of death is "suicide by asphyxia." 

The medical examiner's office added that the autopsy report is not yet complete.

FOX 9 says police have submitted a request to Facebook to have the photos of the man's body removed. 

Bringle's sister said Tuesday the family's loss was compounded by the photos on Facebook and the speculation that the death was not a suicide, the Pioneer Press' Mara Gottfried reports.

"These types of cases are difficult for everyone – people who loved the man, the community and our officers. We're keeping all in our thoughts and prayers," St. Paul police said

Suicide in Minnesota

The annual rate of suicide has been trending upward both in Minnesota and nationally, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

In 2015, there were 726 suicide deaths in Minnesota, the health department’s most recent data shows. That’s a 6 percent increase from the 686 Minnesotans who died by suicide in 2014.

That increase was driven by the number of men who took their own life, with the health department noting half of the increase in suicides happened among white men ages 25-34.

If you need help

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, there are several resources in the state available for people to get the help they need. 

And you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak to someone right away.

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