The family of an 18 year old Muslim teen is seeking answers to help get to the bottom of what really happened after he was found hanged in the woods near Seattle, Washington.
Ben Keita’s death was initially ruled as a suicide by the county medical examiner, but it has since been reclassified as undetermined.
A coalition of faith leaders, led by Arsalan Bukhari of the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, have asked the FBI to investigate the teen’s death.
“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,” Bukhari said.
Rev. Kele Brown, a local pastor, echoed Bukhari’s calls for a fair and thorough investigation.
“We are careful not to rush to judgment,” he said. “Historically lynchings were often deemed quickly as suicide without the benefit of thorough inquiry.”
Keita’s father, Ibrahima Keita, said his son had “no history of depression” or “any psychological break down at all.” He also insisted Ben was a “happy young man” who had big plans for the future.
“He was planning to graduate this year from Lake Stevens High School,” the elder Keita told KUOW. “He was already in the Running Start program at Everett Community College and he was dreaming of becoming a medical doctor and work as a medical examiner. Now those dreams are over.”
The teen’s body was found in January about a month after he disappeared, leaving his car, wallet, and phone behind. His family is asking anyone with information about Ben’s death to come forward.
According to a statement issued to KIRO, a local CBS news affiliate, the FBI is reviewing the case.
“We are aware of circumstances of the individual’s death and will review them with consideration of federal law,” the statement said. “If warranted, we may conduct further investigation. A review does not necessarily result in the opening of an investigation.”