I’ve been waiting for someone affiliated with law enforcement to say Kendrick Johnson’s death was suspicious.
It’s about time.
Johnson, 17, was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat on January 11 at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia. His face was bloated with filled with blood.
State medical examiners said Johnson suffocated but offered no explanation for how Johnson ended up smothered and bloody in a wrestling mat.
There were no details, no witnesses, no clues. Police say the case is closed. It’s been ruled an accidental death.
But now, a 15-minute video and nearly 700 photos taken by sheriff’s investigators in Lowndes County that were obtained by CNN, may tell a different story of how Johnson died.
“I don’t believe this was an accident. I think this young man met with foul play,” Harold Copus, a former FBI agent now an Atlanta private investigator, told CNN.
It’s unconscionable that after nine months police closed the case during a questionable investigation. At best, it’s sloppy investigative work. At worse, could it be a cover-up?
CNN reported that a pair of orange-and-black gym shoes found a few yards from Johnson’s body had a substance that looked like blood on them, but investigators told CNN the stains weren’t blood — and so the shoes were not collected as potential evidence.
So who owned the gym shoes? The shoes could be a critical clue in the investigation.
Copus said he can’t explain how investigators handled items found around the gym.
“If you’re running a crime scene, then you’re going to say ‘That’s potential evidence. Obviously, we’re going to check this out and find out who does it belong to,’ ” he told CNN.
Adding to the family’s agony is another devastating development: Kendrick’s organs were removed during an autopsy, but his body and skull were stuffed with newspaper before burial.
“We have been let down again,” Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick’s father, told CNN. “When we buried Kendrick, we thought we were burying Kendrick, not half of Kendrick.”
Two agencies handled Kendrick Johnson’s body after his death — the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which conducted the first autopsy in January; and the Harrington Funeral Home in Valdosta.
But nobody is taking responsibility for Kendrick’s missing organs.
“It’s unbearable, just about,” Jacquelyn Johnson, Kendrick’s mother, told CNN, adding that stuffing her son’s body with old newspapers was “like he was a garbage can.”
Meanwhile, Lowndes High School administration official have refused to release video of Johnson’s last moments at the school. CNN reported that no students, teachers or administrators noticed that Johnson was missing from his classes until his father worried that he did not return home after school.
The Georgia county coroner, Bill Watson, admitted that the county’s sheriff’s department did not notify him about Johnson’s death on January 11. It is unclear how long it took for the sheriff’s department to notify Watson, or if any evidence was removed or tampered with.
Kenneth Johnson, said the investigation is shady.
“They know something happened in that gym, and they don’t want it to come out,” he said.
What happened to Kendrick Johnson? Will we ever know? Even though police investigators quickly closed the case, I still believe somebody knows something – and somebody saw something.
There are still more questions than answers.
“Someone murdered him,” Johnson said. “They should be in jail.”
This so-called investigation is a travesty. The Johnson family needs closure — but they also deserve to know the truth.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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