Authorities in California ruled that a black man who was found hanging from a tree in June died via suicide.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Thursday that an investigation supported a finding that 24-year-old Robert Fuller killed himself. The agency uncovered no signs of foul play, saying that Fuller also had a history of suicidal behavior, reported the Los Angeles Times.
The LA Times also reported that the Los Angeles Medical Examiner-Coroner made the ruling.
Fuller’s body was found in a park in Palmdale, located near City Hall. Investigators previously said there are no surveillance cameras in the area or any evidence anyone was in the area at the time.
An independent autopsy carried out by Dr. Marvin Pietruszka, a pathologist who examined Fuller’s body, found no signs to indicate there was a struggle or foul play involved in Fuller’s death, Fuller’s family told the paper.
Matthew J. Miller, a deputy medical examiner with the county, meanwhile, said there was a lack of “significant trauma” to his neck or limbs. That is “coupled with the existence of evidence of prior suicidal ideation and a history of mental health issues,” he added.
Sheriff’s detectives also learned that an EBT card registered to Fuller was used on May 14 to buy the rope that was used in his death, spokesman Chris Marks told the paper.
On June 16, federal law enforcement authorities are reviewing the investigations into the deaths of two black men whose bodies were found hanging from trees in California, referring to 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch of Victorville and Fuller’s case.
The FBI said in a statement on June 15, “The FBI, U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California, and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are actively reviewing the investigations into the hanging deaths of two African American men in the cities of Palmdale and Victorville to determine whether foul play or civil rights violations played a role.”
Last month, protesters and people who attended a town hall with Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva claimed that both Fuller and Harsch might have been lynched. They also said that investigators are rushing to judgment, according to The Associated Press.
On June 20, the family of Harsch confirmed to news outlets that Harsch committed suicide.
“On behalf of the family of Malcolm Harsch, unfortunately it seems he did take his own life,” Najee Ali, a family spokesman told CNN. “The Victorville Police Department officials released new video evidence to family members. The family wants to sincerely thank everyone for their support and prayers.”