HOPKINTON (CBS) – A large crowd gathered in Hopkinton Thursday afternoon for a vigil for 16-year-old Mikayla Miller, as the demand intensifies for an independent investigation into her death.
Violence in Boston’s Monica Cannon-Grant and former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson led the vigil. They, along with Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, have called for an independent investigation into Miller’s death.
Calvina Strothers, Mikayla’s mother, remembered her daughter as a bright and loving girl who loved the ocean, camping and making her tea.
Strothers called for a full and transparent investigation, the release of police reports and the return of Mikayla’s personal items.
“I also want the forensics on the belt that they found on Mikayla hanging from,” Strothers said.
Miller, a sophomore at Hopkinton High School, was found dead April 18, hanging from a tree in the woods along a trail off West Main Street, which runs back to the apartment complex where she lived.
“I don’t want to be a vigilante in this, I don’t want to have to spend all day on the phone getting and passing along evidence in order for justice to be served,” Strothers said. “What I want is for the criminal justice system to work.”
Hopkinton students were released early from school in anticipation of the large crowds. After the rally, people gathered in the street chanting and briefly blocking traffic.
Small group of protesters blocked traffic while chanting. Vigil organizer Monica Cannon Grant is asking them to back up and respect #MikaylaMiller’s family while they grieve. #WBZ pic.twitter.com/rISDYGyhcM
— Kristina Rex (@KristinaRex) May 6, 2021
Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said her office does not yet know how Miller died because the medical examiner’s report is not finished, but she stopped short of calling it a suicide.
Ryan came forward with new information Tuesday about the hours leading up to Miller’s death just days after Mikayla’s mother and the group Violence in Boston fueled theories that the teen was murdered or bullied to death because of her race or sexuality.
Ryan said any allegation of a cover up is “patently false.”
The D.A. said Miller and four other teens were involved in an altercation in the clubhouse of her Hopkinton apartment complex on Saturday April 17th. Mikayla told police she had been pushed and punched in the face.
Later that evening, the health app on Mikayla’s phone logged 1,316 steps, the approximate distance between her apartment and where her body was found the next morning.
Investigators used cell phone evidence and witness interviews to determine none of the teens from the fight were with Mikayla during the hours she died.
Ryan would not say if race played a role in the incident.