Last month, there was much skepticism when Robert Fuller’s death was initially labeled a suicide after his body was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, Calif. Considering his death occurred as the protests around George Floyd’s death were at their height and the fact that only a week prior another man had been found hanging in a tree, that skepticism was more than understandable.
Following a month-long investigation conducted by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, a Los Angeles County medical examiner has concluded that Fuller’s death was a suicide, according to Buzzfeed News. “The rope and fabric was tied directly to the tree branches, in more than one spot, accessible from only up in the tree. Indicating that the victim was not hoisted into that position,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Commander Chris Marks said during a press conference on Thursday. Marks said that there were no signs of a struggle or the presence of any defensive marks indicating that he tried to fight off an attacker. Additionally, detectives found that Fuller had used an EBT card to purchase rope similar to the one used during the incident at a Dollar Tree the month before.
Marks added that during the investigation family members revealed that Fuller had been previously hospitalized for depression and suicidal ideation and had received treatment for mental health issues. Throughout the course of the previous year, Fuller was frequently a resident of a youth homeless center in Las Vegas. Marks revealed during the press conference that Las Vegas detectives responded to an incident earlier this year where Fuller allegedly attempted to set himself on fire.
“This event drew a lot of media concern, community concern. And the timing of it, in the wake of the civil unrest and all that’s transpired across the nation, it brought a lot of attention based on the past history of our nation and the rather odd manner in which this death occurred.” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said during the press conference. “We left no stone uncovered.” The FBI and California Attorney General’s office monitored the investigation to determine if any federal laws had been broken.
According to ABC 7, a rally was held the week following his death that was attended by over 1,000 people. Fuller’s family was in attendance and expressed skepticism that Fuller’s death was a suicide. “We really want to find out the truth of what really happened. Everything that they’ve been telling us has not been right. ... My brother was not suicidal. He wasn’t,” Fuller’s sister Diamond Alexander said at the rally. They described Fuller as someone who loved music, video games and kept to himself.
The family has yet to comment on the findings from the Sheriff’s office.