Federal Bureau of Investigation to probe mysterious death of Muslim teen found hanged in woods

Mar 06, 2017, 00:44

The Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office initially labeled the death a suicide, but it later changed that finding to undetermined, saying there was not enough information to make a ruling.

The body of Ben Keita, who was Muslim, was found hanging from a tree in January in a wooded area in the city of Lake Stevens, Washington, about 30 miles north of Seattle, according to police. His body was found more than a month later.

The allegation, which was found to be untrue, and the alleged double treatment were displays of a "common anti-Muslim stereotype", Bukhari said.

FBI spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich told the Everett Herald about the agency's intention to review the case - but noted that a review does not necessarily mean the FBI will open its own entirely new investigation. "No history of depression or anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all whatsoever".

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. But Keita was taking classes exclusively at the community college that semester, Lake Stevens High School said Friday.

The last reason stated in the medical examiner's report was Keita's "lack of any reported suicidal ideation or attempts".

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The autopsy report says the area is densely wooded, but that the area was reportedly searched before the body's discovery.

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.

In changing the ruling the examiner noted that Keita had no history of depression or suicidal ideation, that the rope which asphyxiated him was strung unusually high - nearly 50 feet off the ground - and that the area where his body was discovered had been recently searched by a canine unit before his body was discovered.

The head of CAIR Washington related that the police said they were minors and their parents' permission was needed, but that they didn't hesitate to interview another Muslim child upon suspicion Keita might have joined a foreign group.

At Tuesday's CAIR-led news conference, the Rev. Kelle Brown, pastor of Seattle's Plymouth Church, struck a similar tone.

"Ben was a happy young man", Ibrahima Keita told Q13 FOX.

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