Family members of Mikayla Miller, the 16-year-old whose body was discovered hanging from a tree in a wooded area of Hopkinton, Massachusetts, are disputing the ruling of a medical examiner. Miller, the medical examiner said, died by suicide, but her family and community advocates are pushing back against the report, released Monday (May 18).
“The only thing I want out of all of this is to find the truth,” Miller’s mother, Calvina Strothers, said, per a report by NBC News. Her daughter’s body was found on April 18 near the apartment complex where they lived. Questions were raised about whether Mikayla’s race and sexual identity played a role in her death and into officials’ investigation.
“The conclusion they made yesterday,” Strothers said, referring to the medical examiner’s findings, “is the conclusion they made the first day they walked into my house. There is no difference,” she said. “But I know the truth and it’s not what they say.”
Investigators are reportedly continuing their investigation into Miller’s death, though her family have demanded transparency. On Wednesday (May 20), supporters of the family announced civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump would be representing Mikayla’s family.
Investigators released records related to the investigation into Mikayla’s death including police reports, police car dash cam footage, and 911 dispatch audio from the fire department. The police report made on April 18 released to the public has suicide listed as the manner of death.
Hopkinton Police Chief Joseph Bennett said in a statement he “believes the release of the records is the prudent course of action given the volume of records requests received and the amount of public commentary already made regarding this case.”
An independent autopsy is being conducted and Crump said he expects those results to be released “sooner, rather than later.”
David Johns, executive director National Black Justice Coalition, a LGBTQ advocacy group, pushed back on reported details in Mikayla’s death, stating that “there is no way Mikalya could have killed herself.” Johns specifically cited that a belt found at the scene where the teen’s body was discovered didn’t belong to Mikalya or her mother.
Strothers started a GoFundMe campaign to help support the family's investigation into Mikayla's death.
If you or someone you know need to talk to someone, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255.
Photo: GoFundMe Campaign Page