Seattle Muslim Teen Found Hanging in Tree, Activists Want FBI Review

Manner of death - classified in Washington as natural, accident, suicide, homicide, undetermined or pending - is a different determination than a medical cause of death, which in Keita's case was listed as hanging.

"Ben was a happy, young man", said Ben's father, Ibrahima Keita.

The medical examiner gave four reasons for the classification change. The area where Keita was found, Bukhari told, was searched on three occasion, including once with a K9 unit.

Ben Keita disappeared from his home in Lake Stevens, north of Seattle, on November 26 and his body was founded in a wooded area in January. There were also concerns about the fact that the rope used was found 50 feet high in the tree and about the length of time that Keita was missing.

"Undetermined", the medical examiner's office wrote, "is a manner of death that may be utilized...whenever two competing, equally likely manners are present".

The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling for the FBI to investigate the death of a Muslim teenager who was discovered hanging from a tree.

"The FBI is communicating with our police partners", the group said in a statement. This led us to expand our investigation to try and determine if any incident had led him to stop attending school and work, without notifying anyone.

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.

The allegation, which was found to be untrue, and the alleged double treatment were displays of a "common anti-Muslim stereotype", Bukhari said.

Police are asking the community to help shed light on Keita's death.

"We are careful not to rush to judgment", Rev. Kele Brown, of the Plymouth Congregational Church in Seattle, said. Additionally, the historical precedent for death by hanging for African-Americans is concerning, especially because historically, many lynchings had been ruled as suicide as well.

"He was planning to graduate this year from Lake Stevens High School", the elder Keita told KUOW.

Ben wanted to become a medical doctor and work as a medical examiner, according to his father. "Now those dreams are over".

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