A black teenager has been found dead hanging outside a school in Spring, Texas, according to authorities days after another man was found hanging from a tree in Houston. This is the fourth such incident in recent days after two black men were also found dead hanging from trees in California.
'No Signs of Foul Play'
The Harris County Sheriff's Office said deputies found the deceased 17-year-old in the parking lot of Ehrhardt Elementary School in Spring, Texas, located just 22 miles north of Houston. The teenager's identity has not yet been revealed.
"Based on security video, witnesses and other evidence, preliminary indications are the male hanged himself," the sheriff's office said on Twitter. "There are currently no signs of foul play," it added. However, the sheriff's office added that an official cause of death is yet to be determined, pending an autopsy.
Suicide or Murder?
The teenager's death comes days after a Hispanic man was found hanging from a tree in a vacant plot in Houston's Shady Acres neighborhood in a video that was widely circulated on social media. Houston Police Spokesperson Jodi Silva said the death is "believed to be a suicide" but a Twitter user pointed out a suspicious pool of blood under the tree where the deceased individual was found, as previously reported.
The user, named Mollie Blanco, also drew attention to the low height of the tree's branch he was found hanging from and tire trail marks in a dirt patch leading up to the body, raising doubts over claims that he committed suicide. The hashtag #HoustonLynching started trending on social media with users voicing concerns that he may have been lynched and urged authorities to investigate the death.
Recent String of Suicides
This is the fourth reported hanging nationwide over the last two weeks. Robert Fuller, 24, was found hanging from a tree in the Los Angeles suburb of Palmdale, California on June 12. 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch, another Black man, was found dead in similar circumstances on May 31.
The 38-year-old was found less than fifty miles from where Fuller's body was discovered. In both cases, local authorities quickly ruled the deaths as suicide, saying no foul play was involved. However, community members and the families of the deceased were not convinced and demanded further investigation into the deaths.
As previously reported, officials on Monday announced that state and federal authorities are also investigating Fuller's death from a "homicide," perspective, which was initially ruled a suicide by the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner, a determination that has since been rolled back.