Seventeen year old Lennon Lacy left his family’s North Carolina apartment around 10:30pm, August 28th to go for a walk. The ten suffered from asthma and was following doctor’s orders to do light exercise at night when the humidity was low. He was found hanging from a swing set in the middle of a mobile home park the next morning. Local authorities have ruled it a suicide but his family believes he was lynched.
“He may have either been strangled somewhere else or been placed there or he was hung there while people were around watching him die,” Lennon’s older brother, Pierre Lacey says.
Claudia Lacy, Lennon’s mother, believes he was lynched. She says the evidence doesn’t support the Bladenboro Police Department and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s assertion that her son killed himself.
The state’s Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Deborah Radisch ruled the death a suicide. The medical examiner asked Claudia if her son had been depressed leading up to his death. She said he had because someone close to him passed away. The medical examiner noted that in the autopsy, but his mother said she did mean he was clinically depressed. He was just sad that someone he loved died. His mood was that of a person in morning.
There are a few reasons the family believes he was met with foul play:
- At the time of his death he was saying a 31-year-old white neighbor. The family believes someone may have been upset about the interracial relationship.
- A week after he was buried his grave was defaced.
- The shoes he was wearing at the time of his death were two sizes too small and not the shoes he left the apartment wearing.
- The belts he was found hanging from did not belong to him.
- Lennon was 5-foot-9 and the cross section of the swing set he was found hanging from was 7-foot-6. There was nothing around his body that he stood on to create the noose. So how did he get up there?
The FBI is now looking into the case. Thomas G. Walker, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina asked them to review the case after requests from the Lacy family and N.A.A.C.P.
“There are too many questions and it very well could be a lynching or a staged lynching. We don’t know — but what we do know is there has to be a serious and full investigation of these matters,” says Rev. William Barber, a national board member for the NAACP.
Claudia Lacy says that she can handle anything investigators find. She just wants to know what happened to her youngest son.
Here’s a video of the case from the N.A.A.C.P.: