VALDOSTA, GA – It was a bizarre death; a Georgia teen was found rolled up in a school gym mat.
Maybe even more bizarre was sheriff’s officials took less than 24 hours to determine there was no foul play.
“We examined all the alternatives that were presented to us, and the only one that fit the physical evidence and the forensic evidence and the testimony that we received was this as an accident,” said Lt. Stryde Jones with the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department.
They say Kendrick Johnson, 17, suffocated when he fell in the mat while reaching for a shoe.
His parents aren’t buying it.
The investigation was closed, and Kendrick was buried.
Six months later, the Johnson’s had their son’s body exhumed. A pathologist found Kendrick had a blow to his neck, and his body had been stuffed with newspaper. His organs were not returned after the initial autopsy.
The Johnson’s believe their son was murdered, and someone tried to cover it up.
With the new autopsy and newly granted access to surveillance video, the Johnson’s demanded a Federal investigation.
“We know the video tape would not show Kendrick Johnson climbing into a mat, getting stuck, and suffocating. That was a ridiculous conclusion,” said Johnson family attorney Benjamin Crump.
Ten months after Kendrick’s death, the Johnson’s are getting their investigation.
U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, Michael Moore announced the investigation Thursday.
“I am of the opinion that a sufficient basis exists for my office to conduct a formal review of the facts and investigation surrounding the death of Kendrick Johnson.”
Crump suggests starting with where Kendrick’s organs went.
It’s now up to the FBI to unveil the truth.