Lester Wells Jr.: Police Say Cahokia Teen Hanged Himself, Mother Alleges Foul Play


Update, June 9, 2010:
Read Nicholas Phillips' feature story here, "Tears of a Town: Racial tensions flare in the wake of the hanging death of Lester Wells Jr."

We now know the identity of the teenager found hanging from a bridge in Cahokia on Sunday.

His name was Lester Wells Jr., a fifteen-year-old who lived less than a mile from the old wooden train trestle where his body was found hanging from a bed sheet.

Police immediately ruled Wells' death a suicide, but his mother Crystal Teague doesn't buy it.

In today's Belleville News-Democrat Teague says that authorities never interviewed her or other family members about the teenager's emotional state and whether they thought he was suicidal. Moreover, Teague says some neighbors saw her son arguing Saturday night with three young men who allegedly forced him into a vehicle.

Teague adds that she wasn't worried that her son didn't return home Saturday night because the eighth-grader (who was about to graduate from Helen Huffman Elementary School) often spent the night at his girlfriend's house.

Meanwhile, Wells' death has sparked at least one other theory -- as commented here -- implying that he was killed in retaliation for a murder earlier this year.

Lester Wells Jr. Wasn't Lynched By White Supremacists, Says Cahokia Police

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.