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Mikayla Miller’s mother: ‘I know the truth, and it’s not [suicide]’

by | May 20, 2021 | Featured: News, News

At a press conference Wednesday, Mikayla Miller’s mother disputed the medical examiner’s findings that the Hopkinton teenager’s death was a suicide.

“I want to be really clear that the only thing I want out of all of this is to find the truth,” Calvina Strothers said. “The conclusion they made [Tuesday] is the conclusion they made the first day they walked into my house. There’s no difference. But I know the truth, and it’s not what they say.”

Strothers said she believes the death is a homicide.

“Suicide is not an option,” she said. “I do not believe that my daughter committed suicide. So that’s not something that I’m even entertaining at all.”

Hopkinton town clerk Connor Degan issued Miller’s death certificate on Tuesday, using the information provided by the state Medical Examiner’s Office. The death certificate lists the manner of death as suicide, caused by “asphyxia by hanging.”

Earlier Wednesday, the Hopkinton Police Department released a variety of information related to the investigation, including audio of the 911 call and the police log details that previously had been withheld.

At Wednesday’s press conference, David Johns of the National Black Justice Coalition said neither Strothers nor her daughter owned a belt similar to the one that was found around Miller’s neck. He also claimed Miller was found standing upright rather than hanging from a tree, and the tree was not tall nor sturdy enough to withstand her body weight.

National civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who has represented the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, now is working with Strothers and the family. He said the death was “highly suspicious” and that Tuesday’s conclusion by the medical examiner “defies common sense” based on the way Miller was found.

“What Calvina and the family of Mikayla Miller want to know is: Was she lynched? And if she was, why aren’t we saying that?” Crump said. “They do not believe she committed suicide, and that has been quickly determined by the local officials.”

Added Crump: “It reminds me in many ways of the tragic death of Ahmaud Arbery,” the Black man who was shot while jogging last year in Georgia.

Monica Cannon-Grant, from the organization Violence in Boston, said an independent autopsy (paid for by her organization) was conducted before the teen’s body was cremated May 13, but she did not have details.

Cannon-Grant did acknowledge, “Suicide is not being ruled out,” although she said she does not believe that to be the cause.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, in a press release Tuesday after the medical examiner’s report was made public, stated, “Our investigation into the events surrounding Mikayla’s death remains active and ongoing. We will continue to explore every investigative angle necessary as we do that work, and intend to issue a complete and thorough report at the conclusion of the investigation.

“We will continue to be in contact with Mikayla’s family’s representatives moving forward and we are asking for continued patience as we perform this critically important work.”

Ryan also encouraged people thinking about harming themselves to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK or visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness website at namimass.org.

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