Family asks Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe black Muslim teen's hanging

Family asks Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe black Muslim teen's hanging


Medical examiners originally ruled the death a suicide, but announced Tuesday that the manner of death was still undetermined.

The FBI said this week it will review the case of a black, Muslim teen who was found hanging from a tree in Washington state, the Associated Press reports. News stories about his death and the police investigation went viral this week - two months after he was found.

"He was planning to graduate this year from Lake Stevens High School", his father said Tuesday.

Police said that foul play was not suspected. When the medical examiner labeled his death a suicide, the family was outraged and concerned because he had no history of depression or anxiety and seemed happy before his disappearance.

A coalition of faith leaders, led by Arsalan Bukhari of the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, have asked the FBI to investigate the teen's death.

Ben, a Running Start student allowed to begin their college education while still in high school, had stopped going to class a few weeks before he went missing, police said. However, Keita's body was discovered almost a month after that K9 search by a group of teenagers passing through the area.

On November 26, his family reported him missing, with Keita having apparently left home early in the morning.

However, Keita's family was calling for an FBI investigation and for anyone with any information on the teen's whereabouts prior to his death to contact the bureau.

In changing the ruling the examiner noted that Keita had no history of depression or suicidal ideation, that the rope which asphyxiated him was strung unusually high - nearly 50 feet off the ground - and that the area where his body was discovered had been recently searched by a canine unit before his body was discovered.

CAIR on behalf of Keita's family is urging the FBI to open its own investigation.

Police said they have "not uncovered any indication of a criminal act" in the death of an 18-year-old found hanging from a tree, but called on the community Thursday to report anything they might have known about the man in the days before he died.

In a separate statement, she said, "If warranted, we may conduct further investigation".

"We are careful not to rush to judgment", Rev. Kele Brown, of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle, said. He also insisted Ben was a "happy young man" who had big plans for the future.

  • Jack Replman