The death of 16-year-old Mikayla Miller has officially been ruled a suicide. Mikayla’s body was found by a jogger in the woods near her home in Hopkinton, Mass., on April 18. The day before she was found, her mother reported to police that she had been jumped by five other teens, which raised questions as to whether she was murdered as well as whether or not investigators in the case were doing their jobs to the best of their abilities.
NBC News reports that the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office announced the findings of the medical examiner’s office Tuesday. While the investigation into the cause of Mikayla’s death has concluded that she died by suicide—specifically “asphyxia by hanging,” according to WCVB 5—the D.A.’s office said in a statement that its “investigation into the events surrounding Mikayla’s death remains active and ongoing,” and that it “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.”
As The Root previously reported, many in the Hopkinton community, including Mikayla’s mother, Calvina Strothers, raised concerns that authorities weren’t taking the investigation into the teen’s death seriously. Strothers’ concerns appeared to mainly revolve around the fact that she was told immediately that her daughter’s death was a suicide and she felt there was a rush to rule it that way.
“If they had not have immediately made a conclusion regarding my child’s death and did a proper investigation, we wouldn’t be here,” Strothers said during a vigil and rally for Mikayla that took place in Hopkinton earlier this month.
According to NBC, District Attorney Marian Ryan denied all allegations that investigators aren’t doing a thorough job as well as any suggestions that Mikayla’s case is being mishandled because she was a Black member of the LGBTQ community. Ryan called the allegations “painfully false.”
Here’s some of what investigators found as reported by NBC:
Ryan’s office has said that cellphone records from the night Mikayla was last seen showed she traveled 1,316 steps between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., and those steps are “roughly the same distance from her home to the location where her body was found.”
Her office said an investigation showed the teen was in an alleged physical altercation with two of four teens who were at a recreation room on April 17 and a fifth teen was outside in a car.
Her office said that investigators were later able to confirm that the five were in other places the night that Mikayla was last seen.
Ryan earlier this month pledged that once the investigation is over, and with permission of Mikayla’s family, she would “release every shred of legally releasable information.”
Mikayla’s family might still be unconvinced that the teen died by suicide. According to WCVB, Strothers will be joined by civil attorney Ben Crump on Wednesday for a virtual news conference to discuss the case publicly. An advisory announcing the meeting reportedly claims Mikayla could not have killed herself and it calls her death a “potential murder.”