A Massachusetts medical examiner ruled the controversial death of Mikayla Miller, 16, a suicide a month after she was found dead in the woods near her home following a fight with classmates and a partner romantic.
The official cause of death was certified asphyxiation by hanging by the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, according to local media. The Hopkinton Town Clerk’s Office said Tuesday evening it could only post hard copies of the certificate by mail or for pickup under state law.
Miller left her home between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. on April 17, hours after the physical altercation with a group of Métis teens – and was found hanging from a tree the next morning.
Miller was black and identified as LGBTQ, and his mother, Calvina Strothers, initially rejected an unofficial police assumption that Miller’s death was suicide. She said officers communicated this finding to her on April 18 and accused them of reaching her prematurely.
Family and activists have called for increased transparency and a more thorough investigation by Hopkinton Police.
The case has caught the attention of prominent lawmakers, including Representative Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., A member of the “Squad,” who called for a “full, transparent and independent investigation” into the death.
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His office declined to give further details at the time and did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News on Tuesday after the official cause of death was released.
Hopinkton is a predominantly white community about 30 miles west of Boston, best known for being the starting point of the Boston Marathon.
In a lengthy May 6 press conference, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan laid out details of some of the circumstances leading to Miller’s death and the status of the investigation, but she s ‘refrained from indicating the cause of death.
The teenager was found by a jogger on the morning of April 18, tied to a tree by the neck, according to Strothers.
The mother argued on social media that she believed her daughter was lured into the woods by one of the other teens she had been with in the previous altercation.
But Ryan said investigators checked the alibis of the five teenagers – two involved in the altercation, two who witnessed it and a fifth who remained in their car. No one was in the woods that night, she said.
She also said it was “patently false” that her office and local police were dragging their feet on the investigation because of the victim’s race and sexual orientation, as critics claimed.
During the May 6 press briefing, Ryan said she would release “every shred” of evidence once the investigation is complete, provided Miller’s family agree to the move.
According to a timeline of events provided by Ryan, Miller was in a common area of his apartment complex between 5:17 p.m. and 6:41 p.m. on Saturday, April 17. She was initially accompanied by two friends, who left before the meeting between Miller. and a mixed-race group of two men and two women, one of whom Ryan said she may have had romantic ties with. Another teenage girl, a woman, remained in the car the group arrived in.
One of the men and one of the women were both involved in the physical altercation with Miller, Ryan said, and the teenager later told police she was pushed and punched in the face. Officers found Miller with a bloody lip.
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After the fight, the teens stayed in the common area for about an additional 20 minutes, Ryan said, and Miller’s mother called the police around 7:20 p.m.
At around 9:30 p.m., Strothers went to bed, believing Miller was still home.
Recordings from Miller’s smartphone fitness app show she took about 1,316 steps between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. that night, according to Ryan, and that distance is roughly the distance a jogger found his or her. body the next morning.
In a GoFundMe campaign, the mother wrote that she had no reason to believe her daughter was suicidal.
Strothers wrote that she was heartbroken and confused when police knocked on her door on April 18 and allegedly told her Miller had committed suicide in the woods.
“It is unacceptable that my daughter’s death was considered a suicide without investigation,” she wrote.
Strothers described his daughter as an honored college student who loved basketball and dreamed of studying journalism at Howard University or Spelman College.
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In a statement, Ryan’s office said the investigation will continue and investigators expect to issue a full report upon its conclusion.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).