Body of Teen in Gym Mat Filled With Newspaper, Not Organs

Autopsy thickens plot in suspicious death

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 10, 2013 9:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – The plot has again thickened in the mysterious death of Georgia teen Kendrick Johnson: A second autopsy on the 17-year-old's exhumed body has found that before burial almost all of his organs were replaced with newspaper. Kendrick was found dead in a rolled-up wrestling mat at his school in January, in what was originally ruled an accidental asphyxiation. But his parents were suspicious and had him exhumed and examined by a private doctor. That doctor found evidence of "non-accidental" trauma, and now reveals that every organ from Kendrick's pelvis to skull—including his brain, lungs, heart, and liver—is missing, CNN reports.

Newspapers were stuffed into the cavities the organs should have occupied "like he was a garbage can," his mother says. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation, which conducted the first autopsy, says it put all the organs back in afterward. But the funeral home that embalmed Kendrick tells the family's attorney that before it got the body the organs "were destroyed through natural process," and then "discarded by the prosecutor." The county sheriff, meanwhile, says the death is a closed case and refuses to discuss it. Yesterday, CNN revealed photos and video from the scene of Kendrick's death that raise serious questions about investigators' work, showing among other things blood stains on the wall that weren't investigated. "They know something happened in that gym," Kendrick's father says, "and they don't want it to come out." Click for more on the case.

Kendrick Johnson is seen in this Facebook photo.   (NewsyHub)
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We have been let down again. When we buried Kendrick, we thought we were burying Kendrick, not half of Kendrick. - Kenneth Johnson, Kendrick's father

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