The parents of Kendrick Johnson, the 17-year-old Lowndes High School student who was found dead inside a rolled up gym mat in January 2013, are making another plea for fellow students and families to come forward with answers now that new evidence has emerged about their son’s mysterious death.
The Johnson family has never stopped the pursuit of answers and justice for their son.
For nearly two years, the family insisted that Johnson’s death was no accident and an independent autopsy report backed those beliefs.
The series of events leading up to the discovery of the dead teen made media headlines after key security footage was nowhere to be found and the official explanation for the teen’s death just didn’t add up.
A series of documents that the Johnson family obtained under Georgia’s Open Records Act revealed that there is yet another discrepancy in the explanation of their son’s death.
Initially, it was believed that Johnson was left behind by his wrestling teammates who took off for the state tournament 90 minutes before Johnson was spotted still alive on school surveillance video.
That seemed to eliminate any possibility of any of his teammates being involved in his death.
According to the bus log, however, the team was actually still on the high school’s campus for quite some time and could have still been there when Johnson somehow ended up inside the gym mat.
The Johnson family pointed out that they won’t have Kendrick at the table with them this Thanksgiving and they will never have that privilege again. The least anyone could do for them, the family says, is to offer some truth about why their son won’t be joining them at the table.
“We appeal to families becase we, too, are supposed to have Kendrick at our dinner table for Thanksgiving, and we know that a lot of students know a lot of information that haven’t came forward,” said Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father. “We just wish they’d come forward.”
The FBI and the Justice Department have launched their own investigations into the case.
As the months go by, more evidence surfaces that seems to suggest Johnson’s death may be part of a complex cover-up.
When the family requested an autopsy by an independent pathologist, they expected that they would discover a cause of death other than “positional asphyxia” but they didn’t expect to discover newspaper in the place of Johnson’s organs.
According to Dr. William R. Anderson, who conducted the second autopsy, most of Johnson’s internal organs were missing and the body cavity had been filled with newspaper instead.
A spokeswoman for the GBI said that it is the agency’s policy to return all organs to the body after autopsies and that’s what they did with Johnson.
Despite their claims, nobody has been able to offer an explanation as to where Johnson’s organs are and why his body had been stuffed with newspaper.
Suspicions that the funeral home had something to do with it were dispelled after it was revealed that newspapers weren’t even the standard materials for filling body cavities for funerals.
Most funeral homes use sawdust or cotton or other more absorbent materials.
For now, the Johnson family is left with more crucial pieces of evidence and still very few answers, if any at all, about what really happened to their son on that tragic day.