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Ayanna Pressley joins calls for independent investigation into Mikayla Miller’s death

Mikayla Miller's family says they feel ignored by police and the district attorney's office.Miller Family

Representative Ayanna Pressley is joining calls for an independent investigation into the death of Hopkinton teen Mikayla Miller, who was found dead in the woods near her home last month.

Police told the 16-year-old’s family she died by suicide, but her family says they have unanswered questions about what happened and that they feel ignored by police and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

“Mikayla Miller deserved to grow old. She had so many basketball games, road trips and HBCU homecomings ahead of her. She deserved childhood — uninterrupted,” Pressley tweeted Tuesday night. “There needs to be a full, transparent, independent investigation into her death.”


In the absence of much information from officials, rumors continue to spread on social media around how a Black girl ended up dead in the woods in a nearly all-white town, including talk of a lynching, a racially motivated beating, and a police cover-up. Miller died hours after getting into a fight with two other teenagers in a common area of her apartment complex, fueling speculation around how she died.

Ryan said her office is continuing to investigate, but that Miller’s death did not appear to be a hate crime. The office is waiting on a ruling on the cause and manner of death from the medical examiner’s office.

Other public figures have also tweeted calling for answers in Miller’s death, including Ibram X. Kendi, head of Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research, Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Representative Liz Miranda, Senator Edward J. Markey, state Senate President Karen Spilka.

Former Boston city councilor Tito Jackson is among the organizers of a rally on Thursday to demand answers from Ryan’s office.

On Tuesday, two weeks after Miller’s body was found and in the face of mounting pressure from the family and advocates, Ryan spoke publicly about the case, confirming details of an altercation and refuting allegations that Miller’s case has been neglected.


Miller’s body was found the morning of Sunday, April 18, in a wooded area about a mile from her home. The previous evening she had gotten into a physical fight with two other teens, with three others present. No charges were pressed against those teens, whom Ryan told GBH were white and Latino.

Ryan said her office used cellphone and EZ-pass records, witness statements, and surveillance videos to determine that none of those five teenagers had been with Miller later that night.

Zoe Greenberg of the Globe staff contributed to this report.

Sahar Fatima can be reached at Follow her @sahar_fatima.