CHICAGO — The mother of a 10-year-old boy found hanged in a bathroom at a suburban Chicago school does not believe her son committed suicide and may seek a second autopsy, her attorney said Thursday.
Attorney Todd Smith said that although Cook County medical examiners found that fifth-grader Aquan Lewis committed suicide, the cause of death "is open to discussion" because the finding was made quickly and before the police investigation was complete.
The boy was found hanging from a hook in a bathroom stall at Oakton Elementary in Evanston on Tuesday. He was pronounced dead the next morning at a Chicago hospital.
According to Smith, Aquan's mother, Angel Marshall, said the boy was happy when he left home Tuesday and looked forward to playing basketball that night.
"I think she still has questions. It doesn't seem possible to her, at least with the way her child left her Tuesday morning, that he ... would take his own life," said Smith. "She's been told very little about what happened, how long he would have been by himself or whether other kids were involved."
Smith said Aquan might have been in line to go to gym class at the time he went into the bathroom. He also said the boy told his mother about being involved in occasional fights on the playground, "but nothing unusual," and that some children had apparently stolen other students' homework. Smith was not sure if that had happened to Aquan.
Evanston police said Thursday that their investigation was not over. "Police are aware of the (suicide) finding, but our investigative efforts will continue here," Cmdr. Tom Guenther said.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, meanwhile, confirmed it was investigating a neglect complaint made against the school concerning Aquan's death.
DCFS spokesman Kendall Marlowe said someone lodged a complaint against the school concerning Aquan's death, and the agency's investigation should be finished within 60 days.
School officials did not return a phone message seeking comment Thursday.
Smith said he is not suggesting that the medical examiner's finding is definitely wrong, and if it turns out the boy did kill himself, "then my God, where were the school authorities there?"