This is Ben Moussa Keita, 18, of Lake Stevens, Washington. He went missing on November 26, 2016 and was found hanging from a tree in a wooded area near his home on January 9, 2017. The original missing persons report said that he was last seen by his mother around 1 am and that his family was worried as he did not have the medication he needed for a condition that could be life threatening. When he was found in January, there were no other injuries on his body and the Snohomish County medical examiner concluded he took his own life. But after his family pressed, the medical examiner changed the cause of death to undetermined. The ME's report gives two reasons for the change, a K-9 search of the same area weeks earlier failed to find his body. Plus, the rope he was hanged with was tied an unusual 50 feet high in the tree. His father said he did not seem suicidal when he disappeared on Nov. 26. "No history of depression, anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all, so he was a very... happy young man, said Ibrahima Keita. He also said, "We believe that somewhere, someone must know something about this case and we urge people to come forward and contact the police.”... Ben's family says among other things there are four co-workers who were not interviewed before the Lake Stevens police closed the investigation. The family and Center for American Islamic Relations (CAIR) asked the FBI to investigate. This week, the Seattle office of the FBI said it “is communicating with our police partners. We are aware of circumstances of the individual’s death and will review them with consideration of federal law. If warranted, we may conduct further investigation. A review does not necessarily result in the opening of an investigation.” Lake Stevens police told Q13 News its investigation into Ben’s death remains open pending lab results. Ben's family says he attended Everett Community College and had dreams of becoming a medical doctor. He is remembered as respectful, ambitious and intelligent. We hope Ben's family finds answers. Continue to rest in paradise Ben... ?? #benkeita #justiceforbenkeita #instamemorials #lakestevenswa #gonebutnotforgotten
The family of an 18-year-old African American Muslim is pleading to the public to come forward if they have any information about the death of their son who died under very mysterious circumstances.
Investigators with the Lake Stevens Police Department found Ben Moussa Keita hanging from a tree in a small wood in January. The teen had been missing since Nov. 26 but his body was not discovered until January. The death of Keita was first ruled a suicide but the medical examiner changed the cause of death to “undetermined.”
An “undetermined” cause of death means that not enough information about the circumstances surrounding is available or “where known information equally supports, or conflicts with, more than one manner or death,” according to the Snohomish medical examiner's website.
The change comes due to the circumstances surrounding the discovery of Keita’s body. According to the Washington chapter of CAIR, the teen was found hanging from a rope 50 feet above the ground. The area, which is near the Keita's home, was thoroughly searched by the police twice before the body was discovered by a group of teens passing through.
These two factors lead the coroner to believe the death might not have been suicide, particularly since Keita’s family asserts he was not suicidal.
“Ben was very happy young man,” the teen’s father, Ibrahimi Keita, said. “He was already in the running start program going to Everett Community College. No history of depression or anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all whatsoever.”
Arsalan Bukhari, the executive director of CAIR, asked the FBI to investigate.
"There were searches [for Keita] done on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and at least one with a K9. There was a helicopter search on Dec. 7," he said. "Either the searches were missing something or the body was missing."
“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,” he added.
18 year old African American muslim teen's body found in woods. Family deserves answers and he deserves justice #BenKeita— Soul Searcher (@llorallorando) March 2, 2017
"[Ben Keita] was dreaming of becoming a medical doctor and work as a medical examiner. Now those dreams are over.” #JusticeForBenKeita.— Hassan™ (@HassanPRG) March 2, 2017
Muslims everywhere need to be enraged by murder of #BenKeita just as they were enraged by murders of other non black Muslims.— Soul Searcher (@llorallorando) March 2, 2017
#BenKeita the ME changed the cause of death to "undetermined "— PhotoDude???? (@AbsolutLIBRA) March 2, 2017
He has been missing since November and his body was just found hanging from a tree now in January???? #BenKeita— Soul Searcher (@llorallorando) March 2, 2017
Open your eyes, we all deserve the same justice #BenKeita— fardou$e (@fardousee) March 2, 2017
Lake Stevens police closed the case last week but the FBI said it may review it.
"We are aware of circumstances of the individual’s death and will review them with consideration of federal law,” the FBI said in a statement. “If warranted, we may conduct further investigation. A review does not necessarily result in the opening of an investigation.”
The death of Keita is reminiscent of Lennon Lacy, whose body was found hanging at a small park in Bladenboro, North Carolina, on Aug. 29 2014. It was believed Lacy took his own life but the NAACP was suspicious of another “quick call suicides” — a term for suspicious deaths of African American men, predominantly in the South, that were classified as suicides without extensive investigation, even though foul play may be involved.
Factors that led the civil rights group to believe it was not suicide include that the belt used to make the noose was not Lacy’s own. He was also not wearing his own shoes and there was nothing he could have stood on to reach the beam to tie the rope. He was also, according to his family, not suicidal.
Years after the incident, his death is still considered a suicide by the FBI. Will the same fate meet Ben Keita? It may very well be so considering the deafening silence of the Republicans and the fact that not many from the mainstream media see Keita's story as fit to be covered.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Pixabay