During an emergency meeting Tuesday night to address Thursday’s planned rally to “demand answers” regarding the death of Hopkinton teenager Mikayla Miller, the Select Board met for an hour in private executive session to discuss security measures with Police Chief Joseph Bennett.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan later joined the public portion of the meeting, and she repeated details of the investigation that she shared three hours earlier at a press conference in Woburn. Ryan stated that Miller was involved in a confrontation at her apartment complex with four other teenagers on April 17, but that there was forensic and eyewitness evidence indicating that the teenagers involved were elsewhere that night and the following morning, when Miller’s body was found in the woods off West Main Street by a passing jogger.
Select Board chair Brendan Tedstone told Ryan he hoped that her explanation would quiet those who have claimed both that Miller was “murdered” and that investigators have not done due diligence.
“All of the speculation should be put to rest as far as some of the horrific accusations of our Police Department, of our townspeople, of children of our townspeople,” Tedstone said. “As all of our board members have said, this is a tragedy, and nothing is going to bring Mikayla back. Nothing. But by implying some of these wretched implications, it has turned our town into a circus. And I don’t think that is anything that Mikayla would want, I don’t think that’s anything that her parents would want, I know it’s nothing that I as a selectman would want, me as a parent and me as a very proud townsperson wants. None of that helps us get through the tragedy that has happened.
“By you coming on here today and telling us the facts that you told us should to any reasonable person out there, should put to rest any thought process that there’s wrongdoing that’s been done, whether it’s Hopkinton Police trying to cover something up or the massive implications of the horrific crimes that they were implying the town was covering up. It hurts me to the core that this would get state exposure and national exposure on the implication of some of the things that they have implied, that that could even happen and anyone could even cover that up, and that people took that and ran with it. It sickens me.
“From the bottom of my heart I thank you and I applaud you for coming out and telling us dates, times, facts — factual information, that anyone with a pencil and calculator can figure out generally what has happened. … This town has been hurting very tragically since the morning of April 18th, and more so since Saturday when all these flyers were coming in from people from out of town talking about these heinous crimes that have been covered up. So I thank you very much for doing what you did. Hopefully these people that have made these implications, they can put numbers together, they can put a sentence together and they can say, ‘We’re wrong and we’re sorry.’ I don’t even care if you say you’re sorry, just say you’re wrong and make Thursday’s get-together at the Common, make it a very peaceful, non-eventful get-together. As well as some of the other kids in this town that are bearing the burden of a lot of this stuff, a lot of this can be put to rest. And I thank you for that.”
The Select Board also released an official statement about the situation, which Tedstone read.
“Mikayla Miller’s death is a tragedy,” Tedstone stated. “I speak for all the Select Board’s members in expressing our grief and despair. As everyone knows from our agenda, the Select Board met in executive session earlier to discuss the planned vigil and demonstration Thursday concerning Mikayla’s death. But we think it most important — overridingly so — to emphasize publicly what we must not forget: A vibrant and valued 16-year-old member of the Hopkinton community is no longer with us. We are deeply saddened by Mikayla’s death.
“The Select Board supports our community’s efforts to express its sorrow and grief about Mikayla’s death. That includes the planned vigil and demonstration [Thursday]. We understand the importance of community dialogue on this matter and the collective expression of grief and concern that the vigil and demonstration communicates. Both at the vigil and demonstration and otherwise, we encourage everyone to show their support for Mikayla’s family. We ask only that everyone is careful to choose words and actions, at the vigil and demonstration and elsewhere, that are peaceful and respectful.
“We must also bear in mind that the investigation of Mikayla’s death is ongoing. Deaths such as Mikayla’s must be investigated thoroughly and thoughtfully by the District Attorney, in coordination with the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and the Police Department. In this particular circumstance the investigation must be especially careful to respect the privacy rights of the minor children involved. Because the investigation is ongoing, our police chief has released a statement concerning Mikayla’s death, but he is not able to provide additional information.”
Chief Bennett’s statement reads as follows:
“The Hopkinton community mourns the tragic loss of 16-year-old Mikayla Miller. Our most heartfelt thoughts go out to her family and all those who care for her.
“As is the case with all death investigations, the Middlesex District Attorney oversees the investigation. The Hopkinton Police Department continues to work closely with the Massachusetts State Police, the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner to ascertain the facts surrounding her death. As the District Attorney said earlier today, the investigation is open and ongoing, with no final conclusions of any kind. We will continue to assist the District Attorney’s investigation in every way possible.
“We are aware of the concerns expressed by many in the community over this tragedy. The District Attorney, earlier today, provided information concerning the investigation. Because the investigation remains ongoing and at the District Attorney’s direction, and because many of the persons involved are minors, we are unable to provide any more information than the District Attorney has already provided. The Police Department is committed, however, to communicating additional information as soon as it is appropriate and permissible to do so.”