By Bradford Mason
Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp, Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Acting Chief of Investigations Christoph Kimker, and Morris County Park Police Chief Gabe DiPietro announce that the death of Amanual “Amani” Kildea in Morris County who was found hanging from a tree over the summer has been ruled as a suicide.
Officials concluded their investigation into the case earlier this week. Kildea was found hanging from a tree on June 28 in Lewis Morris Park in Morris Township, N.J.
Reports indicate that law enforcement officials ruled the death a suicide but Kildea’s family and local activists believe he’s the victim of a lynching. His body was found an hour away from home. Private funeral for Kildea’s was held July 6 at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Roxbury.
Kildea was from Ethiopia and was adopted at age 5 by a white family who says he had dreams of going to the FBI or CIA. He recently graduated from West Central Morris High School in Long Valley, N.J. where he played football, basketball and also participated in the Army Reserves. Kildea was headed to James Madison University this fall.
Working to make his community safer, Kildea was part of the online team PedoGotCaught, a group that exposes alleged child-sex predators. PedoGotCuaght targets people trying to meet up with minors for sex by posing as minors to engage alleged predators online and exposes them on social media.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s office said law enforcement received a 9-1-1 call at approximately 2:47 p.m. The caller indicated that the body of a young black male was observed hanging from a tree just off a hiking trail in Lewis Morris Park in Morristown. First responders arrived to the scene and located the body of Kildea in a near seated position at the base of a tree, with a rope wrapped around his neck. This rope was connected to the tree approximately six-and-one-half feet from the ground, and Mr. Kildea’s body was partially suspended several inches off the ground. There were no indications of a struggle observed at the scene.
Subsequent investigation at the scene revealed  Kildea’s wallet and cell phone to be in his pocket. Other personal items, including a laptop and backpack, were neatly placed near Mr. Kildea’s body. Mr. Kildea’s car was subsequently located in a parking lot at the Park.
Further investigation confirmed that Mr. Kildea had purchased the rope used in this incident from a Morris County home improvement center earlier on June 28, 2020. Mr. Kildea was alone at the time of purchase. Additional investigation revealed evidence that Kildea had conducted multiple internet searches related to suicide. The investigation did not reveal any evidence of criminality, nor is there any evidence of a connection between Kildea’s suicide and any other person or group.
Reports indicate that Black Lives Matter Morristown wanted the investigation to be taken over by the state. The chapter’s founder T’Anna Kimbrough said the deaths of African Americans across the nation has impacted the Black community.
“The Black community has a traumatic history of public hangings of Black men, women and children, and this summer around the time that Amani Kildea was found, we experienced nationwide news of several deaths by hanging of Black bodies. We needed to understand the circumstances surrounding his death and we demanded transparency,” Kimbrough said in a published interview. “We are thankful that the Morris County Prosecutor’s office was finally transparent with the conclusion of the investigation and a thorough investigation was completed,”

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