Questions remain surrounding death of Black man found in Morris County park

It has been a little more than a week since the body of a 20-year-old Black man was found in a Morris County park.

News 12 Staff

Jul 8, 2020, 2:45 AM

Updated 1,376 days ago

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It has been a little more than a week since the body of a 20-year-old Black man was found in a Morris County park. While the medical examiner has ruled Amani Kildea’s death a suicide, the case is still being investigated.
Social media posts and recent protests surrounding systemic racism in the United States has put the case under scrutiny.
“Tensions now throughout the country are high on race-related matters,” says Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp.
It has been reported that Kildea was found hanging from a tree in the park, but Knapp would not confirm this detail.
Days after Kildea’s death, Knapp’s office sent out a note that stated that the medical examiner ruled the death a suicide. This sparked outrage in the community, who wanted to know how the case was closed so quickly. But Knapp says that he never closed it.
“One reason we put out the medical examiner’s determination was to try to be transparent. We thought that might be of some assistance to people, but apparently it did not have that effect and I’m sorry for that,” says Knapp.
Knapp says that all along his office has been investigating what happened in the park. The medical examiner’s report is part of what they will consider.
There have been calls to investigate similar cases around the United States. Knapp’s office is also investigating claims that Kildea worked to track and expose sexual predators and that his death was some sort of payback.
“We are aware of it. We are aware of [the social media accounts] Pedogotcaught,” says Knapp.
Kildea’s family is cooperating with the investigation while grieving. The family did not respond to requests for comment.
Knapp says that the COVID-19 pandemic and some national social unrest could be putting a strain on the country.
“In 2018, we had 24 suicides. In 2019, we had 25. So far, this year we’ve had 18,” says Knapp.
A Change.org petition states that Kildea planned to attend James Madison University with dreams of working in law enforcement.


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