Malcolm Harsch: Family questions 'suicide' of black man found hanging from tree days before Robert Fuller's death
In the wake of Fuller's death and the questions that are being asked, Malcolm Harsch's relatives are also skeptical of his apparent suicide outside the city library in Victorville
PALMDALE, CALIFORNIA: Questions have emerged about the death of a black man about 50 miles away from Palmdale, California, where hundreds of protesters gathered on Saturday to demand further investigation into the death of 24-year-old Robert Fuller.
The family of Fuller, who was found hanging from a tree on Wednesday outside Palmdale city hall, believe he wouldn't take his own life. Fuller’s sister Diamond Alexander said: “Robert was a good little brother to us and it’s like everything they have been telling us has not been right … and we just want to know the truth,” KPCC-FM reported.
Ten days earlier, the body of 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch was found in a tree in Victorville on May 31. In the wake of Fuller's death and the questions that are being asked, Harsch's relatives are also skeptical of his apparent suicide outside the city library. According to Harsch's family, the preliminary findings of suicide are simply an easy way for authorities “to avoid any further media attention.” “The deputy who called to confirm his death asked questions about drug or alcohol use, he made a statement about how the coronavirus has ‘hit people really hard’ and said that a USB cord was used to hang himself,” the family said in a statement last Saturday.
Speaking to The Daily Beast, Harmonie Harsch, one of Malcolm's sisters, said that investigators had not offered any explanation as to why there was blood found on her brother's shirt. “The explanation of suicide does not seem plausible. 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 family said in a statement. “Malcolm had very recent conversations with his children about seeing them soon. He didn’t seem to be depressed to anyone who truly knew him."
Meanwhile, Victorville officials are closely monitoring the investigation into Harsch's demise, they said. “There were no indications at the scene that suggested foul play; however, the cause and manner of death are still pending,” Sheriff’s spokeswoman Jodi Miller told Victor Valley News.
Here is the full statement of Harsch's family to VVN on June 13:
Our brother Malcolm Harsch died on May 31st. His cause of death has not been released to the family yet but we are concerned that his death will be labeled as a suicide, as this is what was communicated to us upon confirmation of his death on the morning of June 1st.
Amidst the current racial tension and following the protesting the night prior to his body being discovered we were truly troubled to learn of his passing particularly of how his body was discovered. He is an African-American man whose body was found hanging from a tree! The deputy who called to confirm his death asked questions about drug or alcohol use, he made a statement about how the coronavirus has “hit people really hard” and said that a USB cord was used to hang himself.
As most of us are in Ohio, we weren’t able to physically go to the location where he was found dead but did speak to a few people who were around at the time of the discovery. We were told that his 6 foot 3 inches long body wasn’t even dangling from the tree. There was blood on his shirt but there didn’t appear to be any physical implications at the scene to suggest that there was a struggle or any visible open wounds at that time. His body sat at the San Bernardino County Coroner for 12 days before an autopsy was performed. We understand that Victorville is a small city and have been reminded regularly that San Bernardino is very busy (as if we aren’t patient enough for necessary answers) but feel that our brother’s death will be waived off as a suicide to avoid any further media attention. Malcolm had very recent conversations with his children about seeing them soon. He didn’t seem to be depressed to anyone who truly knew him. EVERYONE who knew our brother was shocked to hear that he allegedly hung himself and don’t believe it to be true as well as the people who were there when his body was discovered. The explanation of suicide does not seem plausible. 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.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger has asked Attorney General Xavier Becerra to conduct an independent investigation into Fuller's death near Palmdale City Hall.
Earlier this week, Palmdale city officials sparked public outrage after they issued a statement prior to Fuller's autopsy suggesting he was depressed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, law enforcement clarified to The Daily Beast that they weren't ruling out anything and were awaiting toxicology results.