A reputed Ku Klux Klansman, convicted for his role in the 1964 race slayings of two African-American teenagers after a CBC documentary filmmaker and one of the victims' brothers resurrected the cold case, has died in prison.

James Ford Seale died Tuesday in a Terre Haute, Ind., federal institution, where he was serving three life sentences after being convicted in 2007, a Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman said. He was 76.


Reputed Ku Klux Klansman James Ford Seale died Tuesday while serving three life sentences for his role in the deadly abductions of two black teenagers in 1964 in Mississippi. (Rogelio V. Solis/Associated Press )

Two 19-year-olds, Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee, disappeared while hitchhiking in southwestern Mississippi at the height of the civil rights movement. Their mangled, decomposed bodies were found more than two months later in the Mississippi River.

The cold case was revived when David Ridgen, a CBC documentary filmmaker, and Thomas Moore, one of the victim's brothers, tracked down Seale, who was long believed dead. They found him living not far from the site of the kidnapping.

Their journey together was captured in Ridgen's award-winning documentary film, Mississippi Cold Case.

In 1964, Seale, then 28, and another accused, Charles Edwards, then 31, were arrested in the original investigation into the deaths. They were later released on a bond and no trial was held.

Federal prosecutors said the case was dropped because local law enforcement officers at the time were in collusion with the Ku Klux Klan.