5. Daybreak

“Miracle Of Birth.” Click arrow to play.

Saturday, August 17, 1963

At 6:15 a.m. on the morning of August 17, 1963 Lonzy’s severely beaten body was discovered by an Audubon Park employee. Lonzy was lying face-down alongside an oak tree at the rear of Audubon Park – about twenty-nine to thirty feet from River Drive, near shelter house No. 7. Police discovered drag marks leading from the road to the tree.1 It’s believed that Lonzy was murdered at another location and then dumped in Audubon Park.

“Beaten by unknown person or persons.”

The autopsy

Assistant Coroner Lloyd F. LoCascio performed the autopsy at 9:00 a.m. on August 17 at the Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office. The Coroner’s Office classified Lonzy’s death as a homicide.2 In describing the nature of his injuries, Lonzy’s death certificate states he was “[b]eaten by unknown person or persons.”3

The cause of death reported on Haywood’s death certificate states he died from “Massive [s]ubarachnoid hemorrhage; Fracture of thyroid cartilage; Laryngeal edema and hemorrhage; Pulmonary edema.”4

Cause of death: the reality version

Lonzy wore an upper plate in his mouth. During the course of the autopsy, it had to be removed. As the autopsy explains, “Examination of the mouth shows numerous small contusions of the lips. There is an upper plate present in the mouth with a recent break along the left upper margin of the plate.”5 This means, Lonzy was beaten violently enough to crack his upper plate!

Upon removing Lonzy’s upper plate for an “examination of the oral cavity,”6 the coroner discovered dirt in Lonzy’s mouth. This means, Lonzy was dragged face down by his feet!


1. “Blake, Raymond J. and Robert G. Townsend, Jr. “New Orleans Police Department Supplementary Report.” Item no. H-9201-63. New Orleans, 1964. 4.
2. “Autopsy of Lonzy Haywood Minshew.” Orleans Parish Coroner’s Office. New Orleans. 17 Aug 1963.
3. “Certificate of Death.” Mississippi Department of Health. 17 Aug 1963.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid. Autopsy.
6. Ibid.
Music attribution: Russell Garfield Thomas. “Miracle Of Birth.” First Man On Mars, Garleighfield Records, 2014.