The Mysterious Death of Lennon Lacy
Police turned away the coroner, took no photos, no evidence, and yet somehow knew that Lennon Lacy’s death was a suicide? Lennon Lacy was oddly wearing shoes two sizes too small when he allegedly hung himself in Bladenboro, North Carolina. Lacy’s family believes he was murdered, but thanks to incomplete police work, no one knows for sure.
Lacy was last seen at 10:30 p.m. on August 28, 2015 leaving his parents’ house for a late night walk. It was his usual routine. He sometimes went across the street where his then-girlfriend lived. Just before 7:30 a.m. the next day, a woman called 911 to report finding a body. The woman speculated that it was “suicide” and that he may still have been breathing. She asked the 911 operator if she should “cut him down’ and the operator responded that she should.
Coroner Hubert Kinlaw told Dr. Christena Roberts, a pathologist hired by the NC NAACP to conduct her own investigation because the police wouldn’t let him do one. They even reportedly threatened to take his cameras if he did. Kinlaw also told Roberts that police didn’t want an autopsy performed and that Kinlaw tried to order one himself through the local district attorney’s office. An officer from the State Bureau of Investigation said that the reason why no photographs were taken was because the crime scene tech was at “another homicide”. Police proceeded to take no evidence preservation steps either. They didn’t bag the victim’s hands to preserve DNA, they didn’t take Lacy’s shoes (his family says they didn’t belong to him), they didn’t even take any measurements of the instrument used.
Dr. Deborah Radisch of the NC Medical Examiner’s Office inquired why the shoes weren’t taken as evidence, the State Bureau of Investigation responded that the shoes were “explained”, but didn’t tell her how. “No measurements are available at this time for the noose (described below) but it does not appear long enough to have been tied around the beam, fed through the grommet and still allow a large enough loop for [Lacy] to be able to place over his head,” Roberts wrote.
Her notes stated that the two belts that were delivered with Lacy’s body must have been cut because they didn’t seem long enough for someone to hang themselves. Authorities didn’t measure the swing set that Lacy was found hanging from, leaving Radisch’s report filled with guesses.
“It was reported that he had been depressed over the recent death of an uncle,” Radisch wrote, in an attempt to link suicide to his death.
Pathologists are not supposed to speculate on anything especially on something investigators are supposed to handle. Pathologists are just supposed to examine the body without outside influence.
“In a sense, this is a strange report,” said Dr. Larry Kobilinsky, a professor of forensic science at New York’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Kobilinsky called the remark about Lacy’s mental state a “tantalizing sentence,” but added that calling the death a suicide was premature.
“What they should have simply said, at least until more information is available, is that the cause of death is undetermined,” said Kobilinsky. “There are some complicated cases where the question is suicide or homicide. These are difficult determinations and it requires a lot of expertise and good crime-scene work.”
Little was done to determine if Lacy could have committed suicide since everyone took the cause of death for granted in the case. The FBI is currently investigating.
Lacy was 5’ 9”, he would have had to jump 21 inches (almost 2 feet) to grab the beam to secure the noose. Not impossible for a guy that weighed 207 pounds, but difficult considering, he would have had to hold on to the beam with one hand while preparing the noose with the other. Roberts posited that it was possible for Lacy to use the side structure to support himself. Lacy could not have stood on anything because nothing was found the next day.
Lacy’s death remains a mystery.