Hanging of Black Muslim Teen, Family Urges FBI To Investigate
Mar 08, 2017 08:31 AM EST
It's been more than a month after a young black Muslim teen was found dead hanging from a tree in Washington, and yet there are many questions unanswered and uninvestigated. Now his relatives are asking the FBI to step in with its own investigation.
Ben Keita, an 18-year-old high schooler who aspired to be a medical examiner, disappeared seemingly without explanation in late November, after being absent from school and work. The teen's dead body was later found January 9 by a passerby, in a densely wooded area few blocks from home, hanging from a long rope tied to a high branch.
The Snohomish County medical examiner's office said the teen died by hanging, with no other evidence of trauma, calling it a possible act of suicide, according to KFOR. However, in late January, the manner of death was changed to "undetermined," considering the "very high tree branch" and the eccentric question of why he was not found sooner.
Keita's family contacted Arsalan Bukhari, the executive director of the Washington chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), for help. "For that to happen and this much time to have lapsed causes us to wonder about whether this investigation was as comprehensive as it should have been. That's why we want to bring in the federal investigators to investigate the hanging," Bukhari said at a news conference Tuesday.
Bukhari said that Keita's family isn't convinced of the local police investigation and that they believe police have not interviewed four co-workers of Keita, who they think may have known something about the teen's whereabouts before the hanging happened. Keita's father also requested the public to step forward with information in the news conference.
Meanwhile, the FBI's Seattle office said it is reviewing the teen's hanging case with police although the review may not necessarily result in the opening of an investigation. "Our review is providing additional investigators to consider the situation and ensure that LSPD has covered all appropriate leads," FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich-Williams told CNN.