More details about the investigation into the death of Hopkinton teenager Mikayla Miller emerged over the weekend.
Television station NBC10 Boston reported that investigators were unable to retrieve key video evidence because cameras at her apartment complex were not recording on the night in question. The company that maintains the cameras apparently told the DA’s office the cameras had been malfunctioning for a couple of weeks.
The station also reported that a search warrant confirmed previous reports that Miller was found by a passing jogger on the morning of April 18 hanging from a tree branch by a black leather belt on a trail in the woods off West Main Street.
In a court affidavit, a Hopkinton Police detective wrote that he was called around 7:30 a.m. and joined two sergeants and another officer to investigate.
“I did a cursory examination of the body upon my arrival,” the detective wrote. “I did not observe any trauma, external wounds or bleeding coming from the decedent. The scene appeared to be undisturbed, the leaf litter on the ground appeared to be matted and heavily traveled. It should be noted that the decedent was located on a heavily traveled town path.”
The detective added that there were no signs of dirt or debris on her clothing or shoes that would indicate any type of a struggle.
The report indicates that Miller’s backpack was located in the area, and among the items inside were her computer and cellphone.
Strothers charged with assaulting daughter
The Boston Herald reported that Mikayla Miller’s mother, Calvina Strothers, faces a charge of assault and battery from just over a year ago, when a restaurant employee called police to say a teenager had been hit by her mother. The police report had the teenager’s name redacted, but Monica Cannon-Grant, who organized last Thursday’s rally on the Town Common, confirmed it was Miller as part of a social media post that criticized the article as “character assassination.”
According to the report about the March 6, 2020, incident, the Hopkinton Police officer who investigated stated that the teenager said she had been riding in the car with her mother when the two began arguing. Strothers then pulled over and “began to hit” her daughter multiple times with an open and closed fist. The officer noted that the teen had a swollen bottom lip.
The daughter also said when they arrived home, Strothers threw items around the room and then hit her with a baseball hat [Editor’s note: Corrected from bat]. The teen said she then ran away.
In her interview with police, Strothers denied there was a physical altercation in the car. She said it was her daughter who attacked her at their apartment, and she said she punched her “to defend herself.” However, the officer wrote that Strothers did not have any marks on her indicating a fight.
Police called the Department of Children and Families, as required by law, and the department took custody of the girl.
Strothers was criminally charged April 17, 2020, and made bail, the Herald reported. She was due back in court July 23.
Supporters of the teenagers who have been accused by Strothers and her backers have suggested that this incident — combined with a relationship breakup earlier this year — contributed to mental health issues Miller was having at the time of her death.
March to DA’s Office set for May 21
Cannon-Grant announced that there will be a “demand march of action” on May 21 at 3 p.m. at the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office in Lowell. …
Strothers started a GoFundMe page late last week, seeking money to “help investigate Mikayla’s death.” As of Sunday evening, 537 people had donated a total of almost $52,000, well over the fundraising goal of $40,000. …
Cannon-Grant tweeted on Friday that her organization, Violence in Boston, had “just completed and paid for the process of Mikayla Miller receiving an independent autopsy.” …
After Cannon-Grant requested at Thursday’s rally and on social media that people call the DA’s Office to demand an independent investigation, Ryan’s voicemail filled up and could not accept any more messages over the weekend. …
A Change.org petition demanding an FBI investigation had 6,134 signers as of Sunday evening.