The FBI has accepted calls from the NAACP and others to investigate the death of Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old from Bladenboro who was found hanging from a swing set in August. Doubts about the state’s ruling of the case as a suicide were already substantial. The more details we’ve learned, the more troubling those doubts have become.
Lacy was found wearing shoes that did not belong to him and were too small for his feet. He was hanging by a belt or leash that did not belong to him, according to family members. The swing frame was too tall for him to reach.
The African-American teen had been dating an older white woman, drawing anger from some in the community. Lacy’s mother believes he was lynched. An independent NAACP-hired pathologist concluded this was a strong possibility.
The state medical examiner says she went with a suicide determination only because that’s what local officials had labeled the case. And she wasn’t given key information to dispute that finding, such as the swing set’s height.
Federal agents are now best equipped to analyze the evidence despite the passage of time. What we have learned suggests they have two questions to answer: What actually happened to Lennon Lacy? And why the rush to call this is a suicide in the face of so much contrary evidence?