X

Family: Teen's Freak Gym-Mat Death No Accident

Kendrick Johnson's body was found in a rolled-up gym mat
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 5, 2013 1:00 AM CDT
The 17-year-old was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at his school.   (NewsyHub)

(Newser) – The parents of a south Georgia teen found dead inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in a high school gym want federal authorities to reopen a case that had been declared an accident, the family's attorney said yesterday. Sheriff's investigators had decided after months of investigation that 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson died in a freak accident after he was found stuck upside down Jan. 11 in the rolled-up mat, which was propped upright behind bleachers at his Valdosta high school; authorities suspected Johnson became trapped while trying to retrieve a shoe that fell into the center of the mat.

A Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner concluded the youth died from positional asphyxia, his body stuck in a position in which he couldn't breathe. But Johnson's parents hired Dr. William R. Anderson to provide a second opinion after a judge agreed in May to exhume the body. Anderson's report, released Aug. 15, said he detected hemorrhaging on the right side of Johnson's neck; he concluded the teen had died from blunt force trauma near his carotid artery and that the fatal blow appeared to be "non-accidental." The Justice Department said in an emailed statement yesterday that upon review "we do not see sufficient indication of a civil rights violation to authorize a civil rights investigation." However, it's working with US Attorney Michael Moore in Macon. Click for more on the case. (Read more Kendrick Johnson stories.)

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |  
4%
49%
20%
2%
13%
12%