Local News

Justice Department determines Bladen teen's hanging wasn't a homicide

Posted June 16, 2016
Updated June 17, 2016

Lennon Lacy

— The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday that it has closed its investigation into the hanging death of a Bladen County teen after finding no evidence to pursue any federal civil rights charges.

Lennon Lacy, 17, was found on Aug. 29, 2014, hanging from a noose fashioned from two belts and tied to a swing set in Bladenboro. Local authorities ruled it a suicide, but family members and NAACP officials pushed for an outside investigation, saying authorities had rushed to reach a conclusion and didn't fully investigate the case.

Bladen County District Attorney Jon David eventually requested that the FBI look at the case.

Federal investigators reviewed law enforcement reports, statements made by Lacy’s family members and friends, witness statements, social media postings, footage from security cameras in the area and forensic evidence reports. They also interviewed people Lacy’s family members said might have information about or been involved in the teen's death.

"After a careful and thorough review by a team of experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents, the Justice Department found no evidence to suggest that Lacy’s death was a homicide. Accordingly, the investigation into this incident has been closed," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a news release.

Officials from the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI met with Lacy’s family on Thursday to inform them of the decision.

On Friday, the NAACP issued a statement thanking federal investigators for their efforts.

"Although federal representatives were unable to answer all the family's lingering questions about some evidence, Ms. Lacy and NC NAACP lawyers were satisfied the federal authorities had tried to conduct a thorough investigation," the statement said.

The Bladen County District Attorney's office announced Friday they would also close the investigation into Lacy's death.

"The NC NAACP and Ms. Lacy have always said that we can take the truth and that it will set us free. Ms. Lacy and the NC NAACP will take some time to process this news before announcing their next steps in the case," the NAACP statement said. "There is no statute of limitations on a murder case."


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  • Jim Williams Jun 17, 2016
    user avatar

    Not sure where you are going Jeff, but due to the continual malfeasance in this county concerning LE, everything needs to be investigated in Bladen. I am a business partner in a large farm, near E-town, and we tell our migrant workers to be D careful when in areas where LE is present. And yes they all have the proper paperwork to be working here and they do go back to Guatemala at the end of the season. Isn't that sad we are telling workers to fear the police not the bad guys?

  • Josha Barton Jun 17, 2016
    user avatar

    No pictures at a crime scene because someone was at a homicide? No one has a camera on their phone? I am in disbelief of the FBI's lack of evidence of foul play when I see it as plain as day!
    No stool that he could have stood on? Without a stool, he couldn't have kicked off and committed suicide.
    At the least, the FBI should have made the corener change the cause of death from a suicide to undetermined because there is no way she could do her job without pics/evidence

  • David McGee Jun 16, 2016
    user avatar

    Imagine that the NAACP wrong again !!!! Barber was just after another free lunch. Chrystal Mangum, Tawana Brawley, the list goes on and on. The NAACP is a sponge that sucks the money and life out of the black community.

  • Jeff Freuler Jun 16, 2016
    user avatar

    Well there you have it!!