On January 11, 2013 the body of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson was found rolled inside of a wrestling mat in the gym of Lowndes County High School in Valdosta, GA. From the beginning, the reports and statements released by Valdosta Sheriff’s Department haven’t equated to the evidence found at the scene. Upon discovery, Kendrick’s face had been so severely beaten and distorted that the paramedics considered the gym a crime scene.
In May, after further investigation, the GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) drew a conclusion congruent with that of the sheriff’s department and reported that the cause of death was “positional asphyxia”, meaning he was smothered by his body weight. His parents have relentlessly called for justice in their son’s death, knowing in their heart that their son was murdered. The case was closed in August with the conclusion that his death was an “accident.” The authorities claim he must have suffocated while trying to regain a sneaker that allegedly slipped into the mat.
More evidence has since been released that begs for answers including photos from the crime scene that don’t align to the theory spread by the county. A second independent autopsy, requested by the family, revealed that his organs were missing from his body, which is not customary of burial practices. This information came as a surprise to his family because they were never notified of their disposal. It was also concluded by the second autopsy that Kendrick actually died of blunt force trauma to the side of the neck. The body was discovered in the gym at approximately 10am but the coroner wasn’t called until approximately 3pm, and the body had apparently been moved.
This is where your help is needed. Lowndes County and state authorities are sticking to their claim, but it doesn’t add up. Urge US Attorney Michael Moore, whose region includes Lowndes County, to open his own investigation of the case. This is not an issue that should be dismissed, a death that should be ignored.
“No matter who you are, how much money your parents have, [or] the color of your skin, everyone deserves justice, everyone.” –Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father.