Mikayla Miller, a sophomore at Hopkinton High who loved basketball and dreamed of becoming a journalist, was found dead in the woods near her home in Hopkinton on April 18. Police told family members that Miller died by suicide. In the weeks since, her death has fueled outrage and skepticism over authorities’ response and has been held up by some as an example of racial injustice. Miller was Black, and her family says they have felt ignored by the police and District Attorney Marian Ryan’s office.
There are still many unanswered questions. Here is an update on what we know and do not know at this point:
What we know:
- On April 18, a jogger came upon Miller’s body in the woods off a walking trail in the Berry Acres Conservation Area in Hopkinton and called the police. The woods are about one mile from Miller’s house.
- The day before, Miller and four other teenagers spent about an hour and a half in the evening in a residential clubhouse that was part of Miller’s apartment complex. There was a physical altercation between Miller and two of the teenagers, one male and one female, during that time, according to the district attorney.
- About half an hour later, Calvina Strothers, Miller’s mother, reported the incident to Hopkinton police. Miller told police at the time that she was punched in the face and had blood on her lip, according to her mother and the district attorney.
- At around 9:30 p.m. on that Saturday, Miller was last seen by her mother, according to the district attorney.
What we do not know:
- The official cause and manner of death have not been determined by the medical examiner’s office. The district attorney has said they do not know when the medical examiner’s report will be complete.
- We do not know the nature of the altercation that occurred between Miller and the teenagers on Saturday. Strothers told the Globe that it was fallout from a fight that her daughter had with her girlfriend. The Hopkinton police denied a Globe records request for the incident report, citing an ongoing investigation. A public log of Hopkinton police activity, which should include information about most complaints received and crimes reported, does not include any information about it.
- We do not know the identities of the teenagers involved in the altercation. Their names are on the incident report, according to Strothers. The district attorney said she had confirmed the whereabouts of all five teenagers that interacted with Miller the night before she died, and confirmed that they were not with Miller later in the evening.
- We do not know how Miller traveled to the woods where she was found.
What is contested:
- Strothers said her daughter was found hanging on a tree, with a belt around her neck. The district attorney said her office is still awaiting a ruling on the cause and manner of death from the medical examiner and declined to comment on how Miller’s body was found.
- Strothers said that five white teenagers were involved in an attack on Miller the day before her death. The district attorney said the teenagers were white and Latino, and that two of the five were involved in an altercation with Miller.
- The district attorney said that a health app on Miller’s cellphone tracked movement between 9 and 10 p.m. on April 17, and that Miller traveled roughly 1,316 steps during that time, about the distance from her home to the woods where her body was found. Strothers said Miller’s phone was not activated and could not have tracked that information, according to information she received from Apple.
- Strothers has said that the district attorney was not in touch with her until 12 days after Miller died. The district attorney said that the office’s victim witness advocate was in touch with Strothers on April 19.