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Information about Ben Keita case & how you can help
Dear community members and friends,
Many of you may have learned of the
case of Ben Keita, a bright 18-year-old African American Muslim teen who was found hanging from a tree in Lake Stevens, WA. Below is information about the case and actions you can take to help.
What we know:
- Ben Keita, a bright 18-year-old African American Muslim teen, born and raised in the Seattle-area, was a running start student at Everett Community College, while working at a fast food restaurant.
- Ben's parents are U.S. citizens, registered voters and have made the Seattle-area their home since 1995. Both parents work to provide for their family. They have lived in the city of Lake Stevens, WA for about 17 years.
- Ben and his siblings were born and raised in the Seattle-area.
- Ben went missing on Nov. 26, 2016.
- Ben was found dead, hanging from a very long rope tied to a very high tree branch, in Lake Stevens, WA on Jan. 9, 2017
- Initially the Snohomish County Medical Examiner's (ME) office ruled the manner of death as 'suicide' but later changed it to 'Undetermined'. Click here to see details in 1-page opinion by the ME about their finding.
- The Lake Stevens Police Department has been investigating this case.
What we do not know:
- Authorities and the family do not know who was involved in Ben death or the motive for his death.
What CAIR-WA is doing to help:
- CAIR-WA has been in contact with the family since a few days after the young man was found hanging.
- (As always, all of CAIR-WA's case work and help is provided at zero cost to our clients and we keep all case and client information confidential except with written permission of the client. In this case, the family provided permission for us to publicly discuss this case and mention their identities in order to create a public awareness for the need for a comprehensive investigation.)
- After more than a month since the young man was found hanging, many questions remain so at the request of the family, the federal authorities' help was sought so that a dilligent, comprehensive investigation is conducted that provides the family with answers about what led to Ben's disappearance and death.
- CAIR-WA sent a letter on Feb. 27, 2016 to the FBI's Seattle office to conduct a comprehensive investigation
- We held a news conference on Feb. 28 with the family and interfaith allies to get public attention to our call for the FBI to investigate and for any members of the public who have information about what may have led to Ben's disappearance or death to call 911 or the FBI-Seattle office at 206.622.0460
- Through media outreach and interviews, we have continued to create public awareness of the need for a comprehensive investigation by the FBI and for any persons with information about the case to come forward so they information they provide can help the investigation.
ACTIONS YOU CAN TAKE NOW TO HELP:
If you or someone you know have any information about what may have led to Ben's disappearance or death to call 911 or the FBI-Seattle office at 206.622.0460
If you're a community leader, faith leader, government official or other leader, repeat the family's call for the FBI to conduct a full investigation by sending a letter to
Then, also contact media or write a letter to the editor publicly mentioning that you have done this and emphasizing the need for a comprehensive investigation that provides the family and the community with answers about what led to Ben's disappearance and death.
If you're a community member or concerned citizen, you can also repeat the call for the FBI by contacting media or e-mailing letters to
editors at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org and other local media, mentioning that you are also calling on the FBI to investigate this case and mentioning the need for a comprehensive investigation that provides the family and the community with answers about what led to Ben's disappearance and death.
- To find other information (aside from helping with this case) on how to be an ally to American Muslims, visit www.cairseattle.org/allies