The parents of a Georgia student whose body was discovered five years ago in a gym mat plan to exhume their son’s body for the second time.
Mark Barber, the City Manager of Valdosta confirmed the parents have received permission to dig up their child’s corpse for a third autopsy.
17-year-old Kendrick Johnson died in 2013 after reportedly getting stuck in the middle of a gym floor mat and suffocating to death. His body was found leaning up against the wall next to the gymnasium bleachers at Lowndes High School according to News4Jax. However, state officials ruled the teen’s death a freak accident.
The victim’s parents insisted that investigators reopen their son’s case in 2016 and believed their son was murdered. However, the Justice Department said in a statement, “After an extensive investigation into this tragic event, federal investigators determined that there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that someone or some group of people willfully violated Kendrick Johnson’s civil rights or committed any other prosecutable federal crime.”
Johnson’s parents refused to accept the closing of the case and sought out permission from a judge to conduct a second autopsy. The pathologist who was hired privately by the father and mother, found hemorrhaging below the skin of the teen’s jaw and neck. The expert ruled Johnson’s death non-accidental and said he suffered from a deadly blow near his carotid artery, the news outlet reported.
“Lord to have to disturb his resting peace breaks my heart into so many pieces but it has to be done… The worst part is to have to bury him a third time like another whole funeral and he’s leaving us again,” the mother Jackie Johnson wrote on her Facebook page.
Kendrick’s parents will exhume the body on Friday at 5 p.m.