Ben Keita was found hanged in the woods near his home on January 9th in Lake Stevens, Washington. After demands from his parents for a thorough investigation into their son's death, the FBI has announced they will be looking in to the situation.
Keita went missing back in November, and police concluded the death was a suicide after the discovery of his body. Pressure from groups like CAIR (Council of American-Islamic Relations) helped to convince police to re-examine the situation more thoroughly.
“No history of depression, anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all, so he was a very... happy young man ... He was planning to graduate this year from Lake Stevens High School,” his father, Ibrahim Keita, said. “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.”
Although suicide is still a possibility, many are thinking that Keita may have been the target of a hate crime: “We are careful not to rush to judgment,” said the Rev. Kele Brown, of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle. “Historically lynchings were often deemed quickly as suicide without the benefit of thorough inquiry.”
As of earlier this morning, the FBI seems to be taking these concerns seriously and has decided to review the matter. In a statement, they claim they are now "communicating with our police partners. We are aware of circumstances of the individual’s death and will review them with consideration of federal law. If warranted, we may conduct further investigation. A review does not necessarily result in the opening of an investigation.”
If Keita's death turns out to be racially motivated, the incident will become yet another example of the post-election hate crime surge.