Muslim teen found hanged in woods hadn't attended school for 3 weeks
In a January 10 autopsy, the medical examiner determined Keita's cause of death as strangulation, apparently as a result of suicide, Kent Patton, a spokesman for the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's office, said in a telephone interview.
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.
"He was planning to graduate this year from Lake Stevens High School", Ibrahima Keita said.
Police said that foul play was not suspected.
The FBI says it so far has seen no evidence of a crime in its review of a case in which a black Muslim teenager was found hanging from a tree in Washington state.
Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Seattle chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim American civil liberties organization, along with Keita's family and interfaith leaders, urged the Federal Bureau of Investigation to review the case at a press conference on Tuesday. He was a Running Start student at a nearby community college, although he hadn't been to school for three weeks, unbeknownst to his parents.
Keita's father has said his son had no history or depression, anxiety or psychological issues of any kind.
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Keita went missing on November 26, leaving home without taking his wallet or phone. He was discovered in the woods by passers-by last month in the city of Lake Stevens, where the family lives.
The medical examiner offered two reasons for its change from its initial verdict: that a K-9 search of the same area had weeks earlier failed to find the teen's body and that the rope from which he was hanged was tied 50 feet high in the tree.
According to Washington CAIR, Keita was found hanging in an area that was searched at least twice by police before his body was finally discovered.
The Council of American-Islamic Relations are representing the family in their request that the FBI open an investigation, the group said at a news conference Tuesday alongside Keita's family. His family is asking anyone with information about Ben's death to come forward.
"The FBI is communicating with our police partners", the group said in a statement.
At Tuesday's CAIR-led news conference, the Rev. Kelle Brown, pastor of Seattle's Plymouth Church, struck a similar tone. The case is now under review with the FBI and if warranted, further investigation may be conducted.
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