HOPKINTON, Mass. — The State Medical Examiner has filed a death certificate for Mikayla Miller, the Hopkinton teen whose death and subsequent investigation by the Middlesex County DA has prompted public outcry over its handling. That certificate, which 25 Investigates has obtained, lists the cause of Miller’s death as asphyxiation by hanging, while the manner of death is listed as suicide.
Miller was found dead the morning of April 18 by a jogger near a walking path in the woods near her Hopkinton home.
Her mother, Calvina Strothers, has been asking for more transparency in the investigation. She alleged that the DA has mishandled the case from the beginning and asked, along with other advocates, that the case be turned over to the FBI.
Middlesex DA Marian Ryan released a statement Tuesday following the filing of the death certificate:
“We have received notice that the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled that Mikayla Miller died by suicide. We have been in conversation with her family’s attorney regarding this development.
“This ruling addresses the manner and means of Mikayla’s death. However, our investigation into the events surrounding Mikayla’s death 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.
“We will continue to be in contact with Mikayla’s family’s representatives moving forward and we are asking for continued patience as we perform this critically important work.
“Please be intentional in checking on the mental health of your loved ones and the children in your communities. Nothing matters more. If you are thinking about harming yourself call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) if you are looking for resources please visit www.namimass.org.”
At the beginning of May, DA Ryan held a press conference where she laid out the latest-known timeline for what officials had learned preliminarily about the night of Miller’s death. That timeline began on the evening of Saturday, April 17, 2021:
- Miller was had been with two friends in the common area of her apartment complex on West Main Street before her friends left.
- Four other teens later joined Miller in the common area, where a physical altercation broke out between a male teen, a female teen and Miller between 5:17 p.m. and 6:41 p.m. Another female teen remained outside during that time.
- Police responded to the apartment complex at 7:20 p.m., where they observed Miller had blood on her lip. Miller told police she was pushed and punched in the face during the altercation.
- At 7:43 p.m., Hopkinton Police traveled to the home of one of the girls involved in the altercation, where they gathered a statement before returning to the apartment complex to observe the scene.
- Miller’s mother went to bed between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m. believing Miller was still in the apartment.
- Between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., a health app in Miller’s cell phone shows that she traveled 1,316 steps.
- At 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, April 18, Miller’s body is located by a jogger near a walking path in the woods with her belongings close by.
According to DA Ryan, the distance between where Miller’s body was found and her apartment is approximately the same distance as the number of steps recorded in her phone’s health app.
According to preliminary investigation, two of the females involved in the physical altercation that Saturday evening were elsewhere between 8:43 p.m. Saturday and 5:48 a.m. Sunday. Two of the males involved left Hopkinton with a family member following the altercation and were observed entering and exiting the Mass. Pike before 9 p.m. They were then seen at a Sturbridge Wendy’s at 9:06 p.m.
The third female who stood outside went home following the altercation, preliminary investigation shows. DA Ryan added, so far, there is no evidence suggesting anyone else was with Mikayla either.
Social media posts by others expressed concern that Mikayla was a victim of racial hatred. At the time, DA Ryan issued a statement saying the case was open but that foul play was not suspected.
On Wednesday afternoon, civil rights attorney Ben Crump will join Mikayla’s mother, along with city leader Tito Jackson, the National Black Justice Coalition, and Violence in Boston Inc. at a virtual press conference to address questions related to Miller’s death. The group is expected to call for an investigation into Miller’s death, saying they will, “outline the concerning details surrounding [...] her potential murder.”
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