Family of 'happy' Muslim teen found hanging in Seattle woods demands FBI investigation

Family of Ben Keita call for investigation as suicide ruling changed to undeterminedLake Stevens Police Department

The family of a man found hanging in woods near Seattle has called on the FBI to investigate murder after a medical examiner overturned a ruling he died from suicide to "undetermined."

Ben Keita, 18, disappeared from his home in Lake Stevens, 36 miles (57 km) north of Seattle, in November 2016 without taking his wallet, phone or car. His body was found hanging two months later in January 2017 and a medical examiner ruled he had taken his own life.

Ben's father Ibrahim said his son had displayed no suicidal tendencies. "Ben was very happy young man," he told Seattle's KOMO News. "He was already in the running start programme going to Everett Community College. No history of depression or anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all whatsoever."

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Snohomish County Medical Examiner changed the verdict after a sniffer dog search of the same area weeks earlier failed to find his body and the rope Ben was hanging by was 50ft from the ground.

Muslim groups in the US claim anti-Muslim aggression has risen over the past two years. Now Washington State's Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding the FBI investigate all the circumstances around Ben's death.

"We just want to make sure that the expertise, the experience and the human resources of the FBI are brought to make sure everything is comprehensively investigated, no stone is left unturned," said Washington CAIR executive director Arsalan Bukhari.

Seattle FBI said in a statement that it was now working with Lake Stevens Police Department.

"If warranted, we may conduct further investigation. A review does not necessarily result in the opening of an investigation," it said.

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