HOPKINTON (CBS) – Hundreds attended a vigil and rally in Hopkinton in honor of 16-year-old Mikayla Miller. The teen was found dead in the woods last month and her family is demanding an independent investigation.

“She was my bright and shiny star,” Calvina Strothers, Mikayla’s mother said at the vigil.

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Strothers said police initially told her it was a suicide, but she won’t believe that conclusion until there’s a full, independent investigation.

“If they would not have immediately made a conclusion regarding my child’s death, and did a proper investigation, or did any investigation initially at all, we wouldn’t be here,” Strothers said.

She said Mikayla was attacked by five other teens the night before her body was found.

“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.”

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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 also want the forensics on the belt that they found on Mikayla hanging from,” Strothers said.

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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.

Strothers said despite speaking to police the night Mikayla was allegedly assaulted, there was no police report.

“They were given the names of all five kids involved and almost a week later, when I requested a copy of the police report, there was nothing on file, or in the Hopkinton Police log. There was also no Hopkinton Police log of the actual finding of Mikayla’s body in the woods only hours after the altercation,” Strothers said.

“The reason this town is deemed one of the safest in America in my opinion is not because crimes do not occur, but because crime is only selectively reported in this community.”

Mikayla Miller (Family photo)

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said any allegation of a cover up is “patently false.” Investigators said they used cell phone evidence and witness interviews to determine none of the teens from the fight were with Mikayla during the hours she died.

Emotions were high at the vigil as Mikayla’s mother pushed investigators to do more. “My message to them is to fight as diligently for my daughter as they would their own child,” Strothers said.

She also called for the return of Mikayla’s personal items including her cell phone.

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Violence in Boston’s Monica Cannon-Grant and former Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson led the vigil Thursday. They, along with Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, have called for an independent investigation into Miller’s death.

CBSBoston.com Staff