Many people use social media for negativity, but sometimes social media can be used to spread the news on incidents that don’t gain national media attention. Lennon Lacy, a 17-year-old boy from Bladenboro, North Carolina was found hanging by his neck Friday, August 29, 2014. Many people haven’t heard this story because various media outlets haven’t made it their priority to share his story.
According to Lennon’s father, Larry Walton, he was the last person in his family to see his son alive. Around midnight, on the 29th of August, Larry Walton got up to get a glass of water and spotted his son, in his room, getting ready for the first football game the season, which kicked off later that evening. Lennon Lacy was the staring linebacker on the varsity team at his local high school, and he stayed out of trouble, all summer he trained for football. Lennon Lacy’s goal was to perform at a high-level so that he could receive a scholarship for college, which would ultimately lead him to the NFL. Lennon had so much ambition, but unfortunately his life was cut short due to his murder. According to his father, after telling Lennon he needed to go to sleep, he heard the front door open and shut. Lennon’s father didn’t think much of it, so he decided to go back to sleep.
The next morning had arrived and there was no sign of Lennon. His mother found her son’s uniform still on his bed and the police were banging on her door. His mother immediately became worried because he was known in the neighborhood for being a nice young man, but police informed her he was found hanging by his neck from a wooden swing set near a trailer park.
Since the day of their son’s murder, the family has been trying their absolute best to get answers that the police didn’t seem to care about. According to Lacy’s mother, Claudia, the teen had abrasions and indentations to his face. The mortician who embalmed Lennon’s body said that the marks on the teen reminded him of “corpses he had embalmed where the deceased had been killed in a bar-room fight.”
When Lennon’s body was discovered, the size 12 shoes he bought had been removed from his feet. His parents noticed that he was found with white 10.5 sneakers on his feet. His family also added that the police didn’t swab underneath Lacy’s fingernails for DNA evidence. Lennon’s burial plot has been desecrated. The flowers placed there were taken and thrown on the side of the road near the cemetery, and a hole was dug in the corner of his grave. There were obvious signs of criminal intent, but District Attorney Jon David and the police in Bladenboro have ruled out foul play: “to date we have not received any evidence of criminal wrongdoing surrounding the death.”
The family knows for a fact that their child did not try to commit suicide. Lennon didn’t have any problems that would have led him to take his own life.
“I know my son. The second I saw him I knew he couldn’t have done that to himself – it would have taken at least two men to do that to him.”
His brother, Pierre, agrees: “If my brother wanted to take his own life, I can’t understand why he would do it in such an exposed place. This feels more like he was put here as a public display – a taunting almost.”
According to the Guardian, Bladenboro is a town that’s about 80% white, 18% black, and is even called “Crackertown” by residents. About 86 people were hanged in Bladenboro between 1882 and 1968. And a couple of neighbors who eventually embraced Lacy (because he was a young man who had friends of all backgrounds), were once ordered by police to take down confederate flags and a sign that said “Ni**ers Keep Out” in front of their home a few years ago. They said that their own son had been pushed around by some kids and in a state of anger, the man of the house, Dewey Sykes, put the sign and flags up. Thinking back on his decisions, Sykes feels bad. “I regret it now.”
Bladenboro is known for racism.
One interesting fact about this story is how the 17-year-old boy had been sexually active with a 31-year-old white woman by the name of Michelle Brimhall. Michelle Brimhall recently left her husband in February before relocating to Bladenboro, where she started seeing Lennon Lacy. In case you didn’t know, the age of consent is 16 in North Carolina. Michelle Brimhall even spoke out about the death of her lover and said he would never try to kill himself.
“No, Lennon did not kill himself. He loved his mother so much, he would never put her through that. I want to know who did it. I want them to suffer.”
The police claim the case is still under investigation and his death is currently their top priority. The family thinks the police department is not telling the truth, nor does the family believe the police are asking the right questions. The family said if the boy’s death was ruled a suicide, the police department would have concrete evidence to back up those claims. But they say more than a month after Lacy’s death, they still don’t have the correct answers. Allen Rogers, the family’s lawyer, feels that the police aren’t ready to deal with the truth of racial tensions in their community.
“I don’t believe that a thorough investigation has been done, and within that investigation, the evidence the police has compiled is not sufficient to rule out foul play. The concern is that there’s been a rush to judgment – a desire quickly to settle any issue over the cause of death.
Given the sensitivity of the issues here, it’s much easier to put this in a box marked ‘suicide’ than ask the tough questions. I’m afraid that politics have held back the investigation.”
As Rev. William Barber of the NAACP chapter in North Carolina put it, “Don’t ask these parents to bury their 17-year-old son and then act as though everything is normal. Don’t chastise them for asking the right questions. All they want is the truth.”
5 Because thou hast had a perpetual hatred, and hast shed the blood of the children of Israel by the force of the sword in the time of their calamity, in the time that their iniquity had an end:
10 For thy violence against thy brother Jacob shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.
3 Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.