California Authorities Rule Robert Fuller's Death a Suicide

The 24-year-old Black man was found hanging from a tree last month ago near Palmdale City Hall in California. Many suspected foul play.

Robert Fuller

Image via Getty/Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Robert Fuller

After a monthlong investigation, California authorities have determined 24-year-old Robert Fuller died by suicide.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's office announced the ruling during a press conference Thursday, almost one month after the young Black man's body was found hanging from a tree near Palmdale City Hall. Investigators deemed Fuller's death a suicide shortly after his body was discovered, stating they found no evidence of foul play. Community members and local lawmakers had doubts, however, and demanded the case be thoroughly investigated to rule out the possibility of a lynching.

According to NPR, County Sheriff's Cmdr. Chris Marks said investigators found no evidence of a struggle, and learned Fuller had a history of mental health issues. The man had reportedly been hospitalized over the past year for suicidal thoughts and depression. 

"Detectives identified a purchase from a local Dollar Tree store made on May 14, 2020, in which a red rope, consistent with the one used in the hanging was purchased with the card registered to Mr. Fuller," Marks said. "There were no signs of a struggle, no defensive wounds observed, and no other signs of trauma visible to Mr. Fuller. Mr. Fuller's hands were not bound and there were no signs that he attempted to remove the ligature from his neck."

NBC Los Angeles reports Fuller's family are awaiting the results of an independent autopsy. They are expected to hold a news conference within the upcoming days.

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