FBI investigates teen's hanging death
A family has questioned the official ruling that an N.C. high school football player killed himself.
BLADENBORO, N.C. - The FBI is looking into the death of a black North Carolina teen after his family questioned the official ruling the young man found hanging from a swing set at a trailer park had committed suicide, a prosecutor confirmed Friday.
A 911 caller had found Lennon Lacy, 17, hanging by a dog leash and a belt Aug. 29 in the town of Bladenboro, his feet 2 inches off the ground. Lacy's mother and supporters with the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP said there are too many unanswered questions after the state medical examiner ruled the teen had killed himself.
Bladen County District Attorney Jon David confirmed through a spokeswoman Friday that the FBI is involved in the case. NAACP attorneys also confirmed that the FBI will review the case.
The Associated Press left messages Friday with the FBI spokeswoman in Charlotte and with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Raleigh.
The teen's mother, Claudia Lacy, said she doesn't believe her son hanged himself.
"When I saw him, I just knew automatically he didn't do that to himself," Claudia Lacy said in an interview Monday. "Seventeen years old - he had no reason to. I know my child. As a mother, I would have sensed if something was wrong to the point that he was going to harm himself."
The last time she saw her youngest of four sons alive, the middle linebacker was getting ready to play a Friday night high school football game.
About 13 hours later, she was identifying his body in the back of ambulance.
The body was found hanging in the trailer park where about 10 trailers face the playground.
The Rev. William Barber, president of the chapter of the NAACP, and attorneys for the civil rights organization met with the U.S. attorney to seek a federal investigation. He said many questions remain unanswered, including why the teen was hanging from a dog leash and a belt he didn't own.
"We don't know what happened that terrible night," Barber said. The NAACP plans a march Saturday in Bladenboro.
Teresa West, a spokeswoman with the State Bureau of Investigation, said agents have addressed all viable leads. David said in a recent statement he has seen no evidence of foul play. The Bladenboro police chief, Chris Hunt, referred all questions to the State Bureau of Investigation.