The death of Mikayla Miller was officially ruled a suicide Tuesday as her family and community leaders continue their calls for a transparent, independent investigation into the Black LGBTQ Massachusetts teenager last month.
According to NBC Boston, the Massachusetts Office of the Chief Medical Examiner filed Miller’s death certificate listing her manner of death as suicide, with the cause of death classified as asphyxia by hanging. Miller was found by a jogger affixed to a tree in a wooded area near her Hopkinton, Mass. home on the morning of April 18.
Court records show that a Hopkinton police detective that responded to the report that morning stated that Miller was suspended from a small tree branch by a thin black leather belt around her neck. Her backpack was also found in the area containing her cell phone and a Macbook. The Middlesex District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that their investigation remains “active and ongoing”
“We will continue to explore every investigative angle necessary as we do that work and intend to issue a complete and thorough report at the conclusion of the investigation,” the Middlesex DA’s Office stated.
The news comes as Miller’s mother, Calvina Strothers, and community leaders continue to call for transparency in the investigation into MIller’s death. Strothers criticized the investigation in a statement released earlier this month through Boston-area advocacy organization Violence in Boston. Strothers alleged that law enforcement displayed a lack of interest in investigating Miller’s death initially and Millbury State Police Barracks Sergeant Sean O’Brien threatened to out her daughter’s LGBTQ identity publicly if she spoke to the media.
Strothers also claimed that investigators told her Miller’s death was a suicide shortly after her body was discovered without a proper investigation. Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan refuted Strothers’ claim, stating any notion that her office neglected Miller’s case due to her Black and LGBTQ identities was “patently false.”
Hopkinton Police released a collection of files and recordings relating to the investigation on Wednesday “in response to the significant public inquiry,” including the initial 911 call and police dashcam footage. “We generally do not comment publicly on such cases. I do appreciate and understand the tremendous public interest in this investigation. We all want answers,” said Hopkinton Police Chief Joseph Bennett.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Strothers and other community leaders will address the latest developments in a press conference Wednesday.
If you are considering suicide, LGBTQ youth (ages 24 and younger) can reach the Trevor Project Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386. Adults can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 24 hours a day, and it’s available to people of all ages and identities. Trans or gender-nonconforming people can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.