The mother of Lennon Lacy, the North Carolina high school football player found hanging from a Bladenboro swing set in August, is speaking out and calling her son’s death a “lynching.”
Investigators ruled Lacy’s death a suicide, but Claudia Lacy says local and state investigators have yet to prove or explain their theory that the 17-year-old hung himself from the swing set that late summer night.
“That’s all I’ve ever asked for: what is due, owed rightfully to me and my family — justice. Prove to me what happened to my child,” Lacy says.
She says she’s long lost confidence in the Bladenboro Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.
Police suggested Lacy’s death was a suicide before a full investigation took place, but details surrounding the teen’s death make foul play hard to ignore, according to his family.
For starters, the teenager was wearing sneakers that were not his own when he was found. The gray and neon green Jordans Lacy bought just a few days before he died were gone. Instead, the teenager was wearing a pair of size 10.5 white sneakers with the laces removed. Lacy wore a size 12. The teenager was also found with a lump on his head that authorities have yet to explain. The undertaker, FW Newton Jr., noticed Lacy’s unusual face and likened his scratches and abrasions to that of corpses he had embalmed where the deceased had been killed in a bar-room fight.
Lacy did not have a history of mental illness. The night before his death, the teenager was preparing for a big game at school — the starting linebacker had plans for his future in football, practicing and perfecting his skills in hopes of obtaining a college scholarship. His West Bladen Knights teammate, Anthony White, told The Guardian the teen was “looking forward to doing good in the game.”
And though police claim no foul play was involved, many family members point out that Lacy was dating a 31-year-old white women in their racially-charged town. Police have not made a connection between the woman and Lacy’s death.
But the questions remain. Lacy’s mother says the belt used in the hanging was not his own. And then there’s this:
The NAACP hired Florida-based forensic pathologist Christena Roberts to analyze the case and Dr. Deborah Radisch’s autopsy, completed for the state.
Roberts’ first concern: basic physics. Lennon was 5-foot-9. The crossbar of the swing set frame he was found hanging from was 7-foot-6, according the NAACP review. With no swings or anything at the scene on which he could have climbed, according the review, it’s unclear how Lennon reached the top.
“His size, his stature does not add up to him being capable of constructing all of this alone – in the dark,” Lennon’s brother says.
The inconsistencies caught the eye of the FBI, who are now probing the teen’s death.
The FBI has joined the investigation into the hanging death of a black North Carolina teen after his family and the NAACP raised questions about investigators ruling his death a suicide, officials said Friday. Lennon Lacy, 17, was found hanging from a swing set near his home in Bladenboro on the morning of Aug. 29.
The NAACP on Thursday called for a federal investigation of the case, saying that “basic guidelines” weren’t followed by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) during the probe of the death scene. An NAACP-commissioned investigation also found that the state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Deborah Radisch, was not provided with death scene photos or swing set dimensions before ruling Lacy’s death a suicide.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest in the investigation into Lacy’s death. For a list of inconsistencies, click here.