In November an investigation began in the disappearance of a young, Black, Muslim teen named Ben Keita. His parents reported that there had not been an unrest and Ben was a happy young man.
For months police combed the areas around Lake Stevens, Washington looking for any sign of the Keita boy. They had even called the K-9 unit out but came back empty handed. In January, however, Ben’s body was found hanged just outside of Lake Stevens.
The medical examiner initially ruled Ben’s death as a suicide and closed the case. The Keita family, however, was not satisfied with this conclusion. Ben’s father, Ibrahima Keita, stated:
No history of depression, anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all, so he was a very … happy young man.
After pressing from the family the medical examiner took another look and decided to change the manner of death from “suicide” to “undetermined.” Between the hanging being unusual since Ben’s body was found over fifty feet in the air, and the fact that the K-9 unit had searched that exact area two weeks before the body was found with no findings, they are no longer certain this was a suicide.
CAIR, Council for American-Islamic Relations, has gotten involved and were the initial group to call on the FBI for further investigation into the case.
What baffles me is that the evidence that lead to the change in manner of death was nothing new, it had been there all along. Why would the legal system of this area decide that the life, and possible hate crime against Ben Keita, was not important enough to do a thorough investigation on.
I fear as times progress in the era of Trump’s anti-Muslim regime, we will see more and more of these types of heinous crimes. The question will be whether they are swept under the rug or brought to light for everyone to see.
Featured image via True Activist.