The FBI has said it is reviewing the death of a Muslim teen found hanging in the Washington woods after medical examiners determined he may not have committed suicide.
The incident, which the medical examiner initially ruled a suicide, involves 18-year-old Ben Keita, whose body was discovered in a wooded area of Lake Stevens in January.
The tree where the body was is about 12 to 14 feet from a trail, and "maybe 10 feet at most from the nearest backyard fence", Bukhari said.
The father said there was no reason for the family to suspect anything was wrong.
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. When the medical examiner labeled his death a suicide, the family was outraged and concerned because he had no history of depression or anxiety and seemed happy before his disappearance.
Police searched the area around the Keita family's suburban home three times between November 30 and December 7, using dogs and a helicopter in futile attempts to find him, Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Washington State chapter of the Council on American-Islamic relations, said in a phone interview. 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. He had initially been reported missing on November 26.
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Keita's family appealed to the public to come forward with any answers.
"For that to happen and this much time to have lapsed causes us to wonder about whether this investigation was as comprehensive as it should have been", Bukhari said at a news conference Tuesday.
At Tuesday's CAIR-led news conference, the Rev. Kelle Brown, pastor of Seattle's Plymouth Church, struck a similar tone. He also insisted Ben was a "happy young man" who had big plans for the future.
Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Ayn Dietrich said in an email on Thursday that the agency had communicated with police and would review the circumstances of Keita's death.
"At this point, the investigation has not uncovered any indication of a criminal act, but we are asking the community to help shed light on Ben's death".