“My issue is not your issue, but if you continue to ignore my issue, one day my issue may be your issue”-Mary Couey
How can we expect justice for the victims of today when our judicial system has such an unsettling past? Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Kendrick Johnson just to name a few, are the faces of injustice today. Horrific crimes that were either caught on video by witnesses, photographed, or audio recorded. The outcome of these crimes undoubtingly leave many in the black community to wonder if law and justice will ever be on our side.
However, in these circumstances, extensive media coverage has emblazoned these victims’ memories and faces into all of our lives. More specifically, social media. The incredible outpour of support for these victims via social networks will make their legacy live on throughout this generation and beyond until something changes in our judicial systems. But what about the victims who were long gone way before social media was even invented? What about the declared cold cases, whose families are still begging for a shred of sympathy, resolution, or at least acknowledgment of their loved one’s wrongful death? Should these victims of 20, 30, 40 + years ago just be forgotten because no one ever tweeted about them or protested with hoodies to bring awareness to their untimely demise?
What if I told you there was a young man named Keith Warren who was found hung by the neck from a tree just yards away from his mother’s home right in DC’s own backyard – Montgomery County, in the summer of 1986? Although you may have thought 28 years ago we were far removed from these circumstances, the more recent victims of these brutalities have certainly proven otherwise. Keith and his family are just one of many whose rights were grossly violated. The 19-year-old was found hanging in a tree by a neighbor who alerted paramedics. After a brief and careless “investigation”, Keith’s death was ruled a suicide by the Montgomery County, MD Police Department. A suicide- even though the rope found around his neck was “tied around a bigger tree to support the smaller tree, which he was on, and the fork in the tree through which the rope was pulled was at least 18 ft. high. How can a suicide victim tie ropes around two separate trees and hoist themselves up? There was no suicide note nor any other evidence for the officer to rule it a suicide…” says sister, Sherri Warren, and to add insult to injury, police admitted just 7 months ago this year- 2014, that information was taken from an unknown, uncredited, unrelated, unnamed, third-party to declare Keith’s death a suicide. Keith’s body was also not taken to a morgue or coroner, but to a funeral home of the officer’s/detective’s choice, which deemed autopsy unnecessary 5 hours prior to notifying next of kin.
To make things even more ridiculous, the tree Keith died on was cut down a month later without notifying the family, by police, for “evidence”. The police disposed of the tree two years later.
“On Keith’s birthday in 1992, six years after Keith died, his mother came home from work and found a large manila envelope on her doorstep. The envelope contained five official police photos, which showed different angles of Keith hanging by the neck, wearing someone else’s clothing. The personal items and clothing the family received in 1986 was not the same clothing Keith was wearing when he was found dead. At the time of Keith’s death, a police officer gave the family his boots. In the photos of Keith hanging, he was wearing athletic shoes.”
The family hired a private investigator who recommended having Keith’s body exhumed and re-examined in 1994. A private forensic pathologist found vast amounts of mysterious, toxic chemicals within Keith’s body, not found in embalming fluid, which led them to believe that Keith may have actually been unconscious at the time of the hanging from being poisoned. Which also may answer the question of what happened to Keith’s original clothing. Could he have had vomit and other bodily fluids on that clothing, and the “participants” wanted to dispose of the clothing? Also, although it doesn’t necessarily happen all the time, first responders told mother of the victim that they found it odd that he had not soiled himself after such a traumatic death as hanging by the neck. Even after police claims of him drinking 8 wine coolers, which there was no evidence of, but those questions were never answered, nor documented. Needless to say, the forensic pathologist found Keith’s death being determined a suicide to be “medically not supportable”.
How This Applies to Today:
Even with new information granted to Keith’s sister, Sherri, from MCPD March of this year, 2014, Keith’s case has not been re-opened, and it has been difficult to find a lawyer to take such a dated case. However, with new information surfacing, the case should not be looked at as something that happened almost 30 years ago, but something brand new. Just another box of skeletons aching to be uncovered and exposed. And just like the families of present victims, sister, Sherri, will not rest until she finds her brother the peace that he deserves! Unfortunately, Mary Couey, Keith’s mom spent the remainder of her days seeking justice for her only son, but passed away in 2009 without any solace of knowing the how, when, or why her son was taken from her. Keith’s exact date, time, and cause of death are still unknown.
We see the repetition of not getting the answers we deserve, and we must stand for all of the victims who can no longer speak for themselves. Pray for the families of these victims…
For More Information About Keith Warren and How You Can Help, Visit www.keithwarrenjusticesite.com