FIRST ON 3: Feds close investigation into Lennon Lacy’s death

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BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Federal investigators said today they have closed the investigation into the death of a Bladen County teen nearly two years ago.

The US Attorney’s Office announced today there is no evidence to pursue federal criminal civil rights charges in the death of Lennon Lacy.

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Lacy was found hanging from a swing set in Bladenboro on August, 29, 2014. Investigators ruled his death a suicide, but Lacy’s family, with the support of the NC NAACP, asked for a federal review of the case, because they believed the 17-year-old was murdered. They also questioned several aspects of the investigation, including the medical examiner’s report.

According to a news release, officials from the US Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina and the FBI met today with Lacy’s family to tell them about the decision.

Justice Department investigators say they conducted a comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding Lacy’s death to determine whether his death was a homicide within the scope of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. That law prohibits inflicting bodily injury because of the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or disability. The investigation included a review of the materials and evidence generated and provided by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, including law enforcement reports, statements made by Lacy’s family and friends, witness statements, social media posts, surveillance camera footage and forensic evidence reports. Federal officials also conducted independent interviews with people identified by Lacy’s family members as potentially having information about or involvement in the teen’s death.

After a review of the evidence, the Justice Department said it found no evidence to suggest that Lacy’s death was a homicide.