FBI investigates hanging death of black teen

By Martha Waggoner, AP

BLADENBORO, North Carolina — The FBI is reviewing the investigation into the death of a black North Carolina teenager found hanging from a swing set after relatives raised doubts about the official finding that he committed suicide, a conclusion that the county coroner questions now.

A caller to emergency dispatch reported spotting the 17-year-old Lennon Lacy’s body in a trailer park Aug. 29 in the small town of Bladenboro. He was hanging by a dog leash and a belt that his family says did not belong to him, his feet suspended 2 inches (5 centimeters) off the ground.

The state medical examiner ruled that the boy killed himself, but his mother said she does not believe it.

��When I saw him, I just knew automatically he didn’t do that to himself,�� Claudia Lacy told The Associated Press in a recent interview. ��If he was going to harm himself, his demeanor would have changed. His whole routine, everything, his attitude, everything would have changed.��

She last saw the youngest of her four sons alive as the middle linebacker prepared for a high school football game by putting together his uniform in the early hours of Aug. 29.

His father told him that he needed to get some sleep before the game, his first after his mother made him take a year off from the team to focus on his grades.

��OK, Daddy,�� he said. They then heard a door close, which was not unusual, Claudia Lacy said, because her son liked to run at night when the air was cool.

About 13 hours later, she identified her son’s body in the back of an ambulance. The swing set was in clear sight of about 10 trailers.