Black Muslim Teen Hanged, FBI Investigates Possible Lynching In Seattle


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

Ben Keita, an 18-year-old, was found hanging from a tree in a wooded area near his family's home in Lake Stevens, Washington, back in January.

The tree where the body was is about 12 to 14 feet from a trail, and "maybe 10 feet at most from the nearest backyard fence", Bukhari said.

"He was planning to graduate this year from Lake Stevens High School", Ibrahima Keita said.

The father said there was no reason for the family to suspect anything was wrong.

The FBI will be reviewing the hanging death of a black, Muslim teen, following please made by the child's family.

"No history of depression, anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all whatsoever".

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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. However, Keita's body was discovered almost a month after that K9 search by a group of teenagers passing through the area. Keita had been reported missing in November.

Bukhari said the police, who treat such cases as potential homicide until all possibilities are exhausted, ruled Keita's death a suicide within three days, which was "limiting". "Although at autopsy I did not see any evidence of trauma beyond the evidence of hanging, the circumstances of the very high tree branch, uncertain location of the decedent for the 6 weeks prior to discovery (with a report that the area where the body was found had been previously searched), and lack of any reported suicidal ideation or attempts makes a definitive classification of the manner as suicide uncertain". The family is asking anyone with pertinent information to come forward.

"[The Seattle office of the FBI] is communicating with our police partners", the statement read, according to CBS affiliate Kiro7 in Seattle.

FBI investigators had agreed to review the case after a request from the teenager's family, who said he had no history of depression or anxiety and seemed happy before his disappearance.

"We are careful not to rush to judgment", said the Rev. Kele Brown, of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle.

"At this point, the investigation has not uncovered any indication of a criminal act, but we are asking the community to help shed light on Ben's death". He also describes his son as a "happy, generous young man with plans for his life".