"Who is coming after u?" responded Maddox.
"The White establishment," he said.
"What's being said? Maddox asked.
"Trying to buy me out of the race."
Maddox said she told an investigator with the Coahoma County Sheriff's Department about the texts she received, but she said no one has asked to see her phone messages.
McMillian's mother says her son had also warned her that something bad might happen to him. This is what she recalls he said:
"If you get a call and they tell you I am missing, or that my body was found in the woods somewhere, do not be surprised. These people are out to get me out of the race. I am uncovering stuff they do not want people to know about."
A fatal meeting
About 10 p.m. February 25, McMillian told his mother, a special education teacher, and stepfather, Amos Unger, a custodian, that he was stepping outside to move the cars in the driveway.
He was supposed to be driving the 70-plus miles north to Memphis in the morning. He had moved back to Clarksdale last fall and settled back into his childhood home on Lyon Avenue before announcing that he was running for mayor in January. But he commuted often to Tennessee for his job at New Leaders.
About the same time, in another house just a few blocks away on Grant Place, Lawrence Reed also went out the front door, recalled his friend Kamilla Crump.
Reed graduated from Broad Street High School in the nearby town of Shelby but moved to Clarksdale afterward. Crump met Reed through her husband, Deric, about four years ago. He worked at the Domino's Pizza around the corner on DeSoto Avenue. One night last year, when it was raining hard, the Crumps let Reed crash in their house. After that, they agreed Reed could live with them if he helped pay the bills.
Kamilla Crump started calling Reed her older brother. "He is one of the best men I know," she said. The kind of person who was there for her and her family when they were in need. He'd watched her little girl grow up; he was practically family.
She described Reed using the same terms McMillian's friends used to describe the slain man: hard-working and a real go-getter.
When Reed left the house, Crump thought nothing of it. It was late, but he'd been home all day. Maybe he needed to go out and get some air.
At McMillian's house, Amos Unger got out of bed about midnight and noticed his stepson was not at home. He thought it was odd; Marco always told his momma where he was going.
It's not clear whether McMillian and Reed knew each other before that night. A friend of Reed's said the two were acquainted. McMillian's friends and family say, "no."
What happened between 10 p.m. February 25 and the arrest of Reed the next morning may not be known until a trial begins -- or ever. But a friend of Reed's says she saw him just before his arrest. She spoke with CNN on the condition that she remain anonymous because she fears harassment. She offered these details.
The friend said Reed showed up at her house on Highway 49 the morning of February 26. He was bruised and bloodied, she said, and driving McMillian's 2005 black Chevy Tahoe.
According to the friend, Reed and McMillian planned to go to a party in the nearby town of Marks. Reed told his friend that McMillian had whiskey and marijuana on him. At some point, she said, McMillian drove Reed down a dark road and made sexual advances.
"Marco wanted to have sex. He started taking his clothes off. Lawrence is not gay," the friend said.
A friend of McMillian's, LaSonya Wilson, also knew Reed. She'd met him at the Kroger gas station where she worked and when he delivered pizzas at her house. She described Reed as a nice guy.
"I know this boy. He wasn't even Marco's type," she said, meaning McMillian associated with older, more established men, not a 22-year-old, a baby.
McMillian's friends all knew he was gay, from the time he was a boy. "He always acted feminine. He was flamboyant," Wilson said.
But McMillian grew up in conservative Mississippi, in an insulated African-American community. Being gay was taboo.