Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old man, was found hanging from a tree in front of Palmdale City Hall and officers ruled his death a suicide. The public was not impressed though, calling for a wider investigation to be conducted as his death showed all the classic signs of a lynching

Just weeks prior to his death, Malcolm Harsch, a 38-year-old man, was found dead in a similar manner, hanging from a tree in Victorville. 

After protests broke out regarding both of their passings, the FBI has opened up investigations for both cases, as per the Los Angeles Times.

In Robert Fuller's case, his friends and family claim that he would never have been able to hang himself from the tree. His best friend Tommie Anderson said: "For him to tie himself to that tree, it’s not possible." She explains that he was too large and muscular for the thin tree to support his weight. In addition to that, she says he was too tall to hang from its lower branches.

Robert Fuller
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Malcolm Harsch's body was found on May 31. His family also noted that suicide does not seem like a possible cause of death.

"The explanation of suicide does not seem plausible," wrote his family. "There are many ways to die, but considering the current racial tension, a Black man hanging himself from a tree definitely doesn’t sit well with us right now. We want justice, not comfortable excuses."

The FBI is looking into both incidents, sending independent investigators to figure out what actually happened. 

"The FBI, U.S. attorney’s office for the Central District of California and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are actively reviewing the investigations into the hanging deaths of two African American men in the cities of Palmdale and Victorville to determine whether there are violations of federal law," said a spokeswoman for the FBI. 


David McNew/Getty Images

Hopefully, the Harsch and Fuller families can receive the justice and answers they deserve.

[via]