The FBI said this week it will review the case of a black, Muslim teen who was found hanging from a tree in Washington state, the Associated Press reports. The examiner made his conclusion based on the fact that there appeared to be no other injuries to Keita's body.
"No history of depression, anxiety, any psychological break down at all, so he was a very young, happy young man", said Keita's dad, Ibrahima Keita.
Lake Stevens police detectives said in a statement on Wednesday that they had conferred with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and were keeping the case open while they awaited results from the Washington State Crime lab.
Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of the Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Keita's body was found on January 9 after three separate searches near his home, including one by helicopter in early December.
On November 26, his family reported him missing, with Keita having apparently left home early in the morning.
The family's concern is warranted, particularly because of current perceptions about Muslims and the upswing in violent, race-and-religious-based attacks.
Bukhari said that Keita's body was found hanging from a 50-foot rope - if the 18-year-old had committed suicide, use of such a long rope would have likely caused more serious trauma.
"[The Seattle office of the FBI] is communicating with our police partners", the statement read, according to CBS affiliate Kiro7 in Seattle. His body was found hanging from a "very high tree branch" in January in a wooded area near his home - and may have been in a "semi-frozen" state for up to six weeks, according to KUOW.org, citing an autopsy report by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's Office. The case is now under review with the FBI and if warranted, further investigation may be conducted. The police department said they investigated the case, and closed the case only last week.
"To be clear we don't know what happened but we want a comprehensive investigation into his death", Bukhari told BuzzFeed News. "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".
The death is suspicious and probably the work of a hate crime.
Keita, 18, was reported missing on November 27, the Lake Stevens Police Department posted on Facebook. "Historically lynchings were often deemed quickly as suicide without the benefit of thorough inquiry".