Instead of using information from law enforcement -- like the FBI -- the Bureau of Justice Statistics uses information directly from victims.
It's based on interviews with thousands of households each year where people say whether they believe they were victims of hate crimes. "Sometimes victims don't go to the police," said Klimt. "And sometimes the police report is not filed." And if police don't know about a crime, they can't report it to the FBI.
The BOJ statistics, which supporters say generally provide a more accurate picture of crime, cost $23 million more a year to produce than the FBI's annual hate crime stats.
The FBI stats show the following trends in hate crimes reported by states from 2008-2011:
-- Crimes linked to bias against sexual orientation increased from 16.7% to 20.8%.
-- Crimes linked to religious, ethnic and disability bias were unchanged.
-- Racially motivated hate crimes -- the most commonly reported type -- decreased from 51.3% to 46.9%.
Back in Mississippi, Ruby Burdette's pain over the death of her son has been resurfacing as police investigate the case more than three years later.
She believes it could have been racially motivated.
"I would hate to say it, but it could," she said. "Being a mother, I want the truth to come out."
In the end, she may never know.