There is no question in the minds of those who believe that Lennon Lacy, 17, did not kill himself, as the Bladenboro police and county coroner have ruled, that someone knows what happened to the West Bladenboro High School student before his body was found hanging from a children’s swing set in a predominately white trailer park he did not live at on the morning of August 29th last summer.
Local authorities were quick to rule suicide, saying, after interviewing Lacy’s mother, that he was despondent of the recent death of a beloved uncle. But Claudia Lacy counters that while her son was indeed sad, as was the rest of the family, he was nowhere near suicidal.
Indeed, the start of the high school football season was beginning the same evening Lennon’s body was found, and young man was on his school team, and had been eagerly preparing for the big first game.
In effect, her son had every reason to live, Claudia Lacy says, which means his death was something she’s certain was done to him.
“He didn’t do this to himself,” she told CNN.
The NC NAACP has joined with the Lacy family and attorney, demanding justice and a full investigation of the facts. With Rev. William Barber, president of the statewide civil rights group leading the way, more questions about both the circumstances surrounding Lennon’s death, and the subsequent local investigation, have come to light.
“’[The Lacy family is]… being asked to accept the fact that their son, brother, and cousin might have walked out of his home the night before his first big home football game that he had been preparing for all summer,” Rev. Barber said at a November press conference with the family present. “That he would have hidden his brand new shoes that he had been wearing, so no one could find them. That he would have found a pair of older low-top sneakers, taken the strings out of them, and jammed them on his feet, although they were two sizes too small. That he would have walked alone to a trailer park owned by a white man who is in prison for dealing drugs. That he would have picked up two leashes/belts along the way and fashioned a noose out of them all by himself. That when he got there, he would have picked a swing set with no swings hanging from it, and taken the leash/belt, tied it to the beam and through the eyehook, and then put the leash around his neck, and swung himself out to his self-inflicted death.”
“And he did all this with no one around, and he remained there until 7 a.m. or so in the morning, after people were leaving for work at the Smithfield Plant or to school,” Barber added.
“And they are being asked to accept this without knowing that all of the other factors and leads have been exhausted.”
One possible lead is the confirmed fact that Lennon Lacy was dating a 31-year-old white divorcee’. The woman says Lennon treated her “good,” but the couple tried to be careful of being seen publicly because of negative reaction in the small town.
An expert pathologist hired by the NCNAACP who reviewed the autopsy findings has raised several doubt about how law enforcement handled the body when found. Those doubts, and further questions, were brought to the Bladen County district attorney, who has agreed to keep the case open.
Finally, based on growing questions, the US Attorney was convinced after meeting with the family and NCNAACP, to call in the FBI for a federal civil rights investigation.
Rev. Barber says his office has received calls from people in Bladenboro who say they have information, and its his expectation that the FBI will followup with them.
Meanwhile, he and the NCNAACP stand by the family.
“Let us pray for the Lacy family,” Rev. Barber says