FBI Investigation Into Hanging Death Of Muslim Teen Leaves More Questions Than Answers
The FBI has yet to find evidence of a “criminal act” in the death of an 18-year-old muslim student who was found hanging from a tree near his home in Lake Stevens, Washington. Authorities discovered the body of Ben Keita on January 9, nearly two months after he was first reported missing.
An autopsy found no apparent evidence of trauma to the body, which was hanging from a 50-foot rope. While the Snohomish County medical examiner's office initially ruled Keita's death a suicide, the cause of death was changed to “inconclusive,” reportedly due to the “unusual” length of the rope, and the fact that an earlier K-9 search of the location failed to uncover the high schooler's body.
Keita’s family asserts that he never displayed behavior that would corroborate the suicide theory. “No history of depression, anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all. So he was a very... happy young man,” said his father Ibrahima Keita.
The Washington Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations called for an FBI probe in addition to the Lake Stevens police 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.
In a statement released on Friday (March 3), the FBI said it had yet to find evidence “to provide any indication of a criminal act.”
Keita was reported missing on Nov. 26, one day after he failed to show up for work. Police claim that in the weeks leading up to his disappearance, Keita had been skipping school without his family's knowledge.
According to his family, Keita would have graduated high school this year, and had been taking courses at a local community college.