As questions remain around the tragic death of Mikayla Miller, a 16-year-old queer Black teen whose mysterious death was ruled a suicide, state officials have the opportunity to launch an independent investigation into the case.
On Sunday Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey made mention that her office has the authority to open an independent inquiry, but would not make a decision until after the Middlesex District Attorney’s office concludes their open investigation.
During an appearance on WBZ’s “Keller at Large” Healey used safe language to say that she supports the investigation led by Marian Ryan’s office, which has come under criticism by Mikayala’s supporters who believe her sexuality and race were the main factor’s in her death. Ryan initially announced there were suspicions in the case, but would not make any conclusions until their investigation was complete.
“She and her family deserve our support, protection and also full investigation,” Healey said.
The attorney general also made it clear that she would not directly comment on the investigation until Ryan’s office completed their task.
“I certainly understand and share in the need for transparency in this case,” she continued. “That will be forthcoming in my view. But certainly, her family and the community around her deserve answers as to what happened.”
Last week, a medical examiner ruled Mikayla died from suicide, stirring up a rightful emotional response from the teen’s family and supporters who feel she was killed by a group of white teens who had previously assaulted her. Mikayla was found hanged by a jogger in a wooded area of Hopkinton, Massachusetts on April 18.
Lawmakers and activists have backed a transparent investigation in order to give Mikayla’s family the answers they deserve. Last week supporters marched to Ryan’s office marking the one-month anniversary of her death. During the rally they called for Ryan’s resignation and an intervention from the FBI.
The case is likened to the mysterious deaths of other Black teens whose communities feel justice went unserved. In Illinois, questions still remain around the death of Kenneka Jenkins, who was found dead in the walk-in freezer at the Crowne Plaza Hotel located in Rosemont on September, 10, 2017. And in Georgia, the family of Kendrick Johnson have received renewed interest after a Georgia sheriff announced they would be reinvestigating his 2013 death after he was found dead in a gym mat.