HOPKINTON, Mass. – Mikayla Miller and her mother Calvina Strothers were “two peas in a pod.”
She loved to make her mom tea every night and was often her mom’s “dinner date,” as the two enjoyed going out to eat. They traveled together regularly, with quick trips from their home in Massachusetts to Maine or New Hampshire and had plans to return to Trinidad soon.
“Mikayla was only 16-years-old. She was my bright and shining star in this crazy world,” Strothers said at a rally Thursday for her daughter, less than a month since her death.
On the morning of April 18, Mikayla, a Black teenager, was found dead in a wooded area by a jogger in what the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office initially said was not considered a suspicious death. It remained an “open and active” investigation, the office said at the time.
In the weeks since, details have trickled out about what occurred before Mikayla’s death. Strothers said Mikayla was found hanging from a tree by a belt and she believes her daughter was killed just hours after she was assaulted by a group of teenagers. Strothers and local activists also raised concerns with how police and the district attorney have handled the case so far.
‘My bright and shining’ star,’ Mikayla Miller’s mother tells crowd at Hopkinton rally
“I want a full and transparent investigation,” Strothers said Thursday as she disputed some details of authorities’ account of what happened.
“I don’t want to be a vigilante in this,” Strothers said. “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. What I want is for the criminal justice system to work.”
Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan held a news conference Tuesday, saying her office has not reached a final conclusion in the case as the medical examiner has not yet ruled on the cause and manner of Mikayla’s death.
Ryan denied any wrongdoing by her office and pushed back against “the notion that this office has in somehow neglected Mikalya’s case, or worse – so much worse – has engaged in some sort of cover-up” due to her race or sexual orientation.
Signs bearing the likeness of Mikayla Miller, during a rally on Hopkinton Common where her family called for answers following the 16-year-old's death last month in a wooded area near her home. (Photo: Daily News and Wicked Local Staff Photo/Ken McGagh)
Who was Mikayla Miller?
Mikayla, 16, loved to write, play basketball and planned to attend a historically Black college or university and later become a journalist, Strothers said.
“She was a good listener and had a kind heart. Although she was only 16 years old, she gave better advice to others in times of need than I did,” Strothers said.
Srothers also described her daughter as a funny and caring teen who loved the ocean and camping.
“Nothing I say today is going to take away the pain that we all are experiencing in this new world without Mikayla,” she told the crowd Thursday. “But my hope is that by sharing a little bit about her life, our life, it will help you get to know more about her.”
During her news conference, Ryan indicated Mikayla was a member of the LGBTQ community. Strothers said her daughter’s identity “has no relevance to getting justice.”
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