The FBI agreed to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of a Black teenager found hanged in a wooded area near Lake Stevens, Washington, KIRO reports.
On Thursday, the Lake Stevens Police Department said its investigation into the death of 18-year-old Ben Keita found no evidence of a crime. But the Muslim teen’s family sought a federal investigation because they doubt that he committed suicide, as the local authorities originally concluded.
Keita’s father, Ibrahima Keita, said at a news conference that his son showed no signs of depression when he disappeared.
“No history of depression, anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all, so he was a very… happy young man,” the father said.
Keita disappeared on Nov. 26. His body was discovered in January, hanging from a tree. The medical examiner ruled his death a suicide because there were no other injuries. However, the family raised questions, and the medical examiner ultimately changed the cause of death to undetermined.
KIRO, an ABC News affiliate, said the medical examiner’s report gave two reason for the change: A K-9 search of the area weeks earlier failed to find Keita’s body, and his body was hanged from an unusual height of 50 feet for a suicide.
The family said there are other unanswered questions from the police investigation, including why four of Keita’s co-workers were not interviewed.
To get answers, the Washington Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations spearheaded the call for an FBI investigation.
“We just want to make sure that the expertise, the experience and the human resources of the FBI are brought to make sure everything is comprehensively investigated, no stone is left unturned,” Washington CAIR Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari said.
The FBI noted in a statement that its review of Keita’s death is an initial step. If warranted, it will open an investigation.
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