Lennon Lacy had plans. From a young age, he was determined to become a pro football player, and Aug. 29 was the day of West Bladen High School's season-opening game—a day he'd been looking forward to all summer. But that morning, the high school junior was found dead, hanging from a wooden swingset at a trailer park a short walk from his Bladenboro, NC, home. Five days later, investigators told the Lacy family they found no evidence of foul play, but the 17-year-old's relatives and friends are convinced the teen would not have taken his own life—there was no history of depression or mental illness—and they've raised serious questions about the investigation and the sinister details surrounding Lennon's death, the Guardian reports. Why, for example, did his body have abrasions and facial indentations the undertaker compared to marks he's seen on bodies of people killed in bar fights?
Why are the size-12 Jordans Lennon had bought a few days before his death missing, with the teen found wearing a pair of size-10.5 sneakers his family doesn't recognize? "The image of a black boy hanging from a rope is in the souls of all of us," the Rev. William Barber, head of the NAACP in North Carolina, said at a memorial for Lennon in late September, the Robesonian reports. "It is in the DNA of America. In 2014, our greatest prayer is that this was not a lynching." He and Lennon's family are quick to say that if a thorough probe found the teen committed suicide, they would accept it—but they don't feel such a probe has been done. For one thing, Lennon's fingernails were not swabbed to see if another person's DNA might be under them. More than five weeks later, there's still no date set for the autopsy report to be released. Local police, the DA's office, and the state bureau of investigation all say the investigation is ongoing. The full Guardian piece is worth a read. (Read more North Carolina stories.)