Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
 / Updated 

The woman who discovered a black teenage boy hanging from a swing set in North Carolina in August told police he had killed himself before they even arrived at the scene, according to 911 recordings released Saturday.

"He hung himself," said the woman, who called police after discovering 17-year-old Lennon Lacy hanging on the morning of Aug. 29. The distressed caller assumes the teen is dead because "he's not breathing," but when the dispatcher asks if he is breathing, she said, "now you got me scared that he's still alive. Do I need to try to get him down?" The dispatcher tells her to try. It is unclear whether the caller or first responders removed Lacy from the noose made out a belt, but he died on the scene from asphyxia, according to an autopsy released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

The medical examiner and investigators also ruled Lacy's death a suicide, but his family and the NAACP disagreed. The FBI joined the probe into Lacy's death on Friday after the NAACP pointed out inconsistencies between their own investigation and the state's investigation and said that "basic guidelines" weren't followed when Lacy's body was first discovered.


— Elisha Fieldstadt