Body of Lake Stevens teen missing since Nov. 26 is found

Ben M. Keita (Lake Stevens police)

UPDATE: A body was found Monday in a wooded area in southeast Lake Stevens.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed the person found was Ben Keita, Lake Stevens police said in a press release. The death was ruled a suicide, they reported.

LAKE STEVENS — Investigators are asking for help finding a Lake Stevens teen who has been missing for more than a month.

Ben Keita, 18, was last seen Nov. 26. He left his house between 1 and 8 a.m. without his car, phone or wallet. He didn’t use social media.

“This kid vanished,” said detective Jim Barnes with the Lake Stevens Police Department. “He has no online presence.”

The lack of available information is “incredibly unusual” for a missing person, Barnes said. Even the smallest detail could be helpful to police.

The family lives in southeast Lake Stevens. Keita is the second of four children. He has no history of mental health issues. He is supposed to be taking medication for a health condition that may be worsened by cold weather, Barnes said.

Keita is a student in Running Start in the Lake Stevens School District. He stopped going to school a few weeks before his disappearance.

Detectives have talked to family, neighbors and acquaintances, along with Keita’s co-workers at the Lake Stevens McDonald’s. They collected all the surveillance footage they could find and checked area jails and hospitals.

Snohomish County Volunteer Search & Rescue has gone through the forested areas near the home twice so far. A federal helicopter crew also provided assistance. Another search is planned in the coming days.

“Ben’s picture has been out nationwide,” Barnes said.

Keita was last seen wearing gray sweats, a gray and blue hooded sweatshirt and gray and blue shoes. Anyone with information is asked to call the police at 425-377-3214.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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