A third autopsy performed on a Valdosta, Georgia, teen who was discovered dead in a high school gym mat in January 2013 found that he died as result of “non-accidental blunt force trauma.”
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that this is the second autopsy requested by Kendrick Johnson’s parents, the latest which contradicts the state medical examiner’s finding that the 17-year-old died as a result of “positional asphyxia.” The initial report suggested Johnson became trapped into a rolled up mat while retrieving his pair of sneakers, leading the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office to deem his death an accident.
The Johnsons have repeatedly accused officials of partaking in a mass coverup that involves the FBI, local police, and the school district. The family believes Johnson was murdered by Brian and Branden Bell, sons of an FBI agent. However, the Journal-Constitution noted that video footage showed the pair were located elsewhere when Johnson was last seen alive.
A recent affidavit obtained by WALB stated that an unidentified person was experiencing “roid rage” when they struck Johnson in the neck with a 45-pound dumbbell. Afterward, a person who witnessed the incident was told to keep quiet or they “would pay for it,” it said.
The name of the person who made the accusation, in addition to the person who allegedly attacked Johnson, were redacted in the news station’s copy of the report.
The person interviewed in the affidavit mentioned that someone told him that Johnson’s organs were removed from his body and replaced with newspaper to conceal his actual cause of death. They also claimed that multiple people conspired to have an hour-and-a-half of the high school surveillance video deleted or corrupted.
Some of the interviewee’s claims corroborate a 2013 CNN report which indicated that Johnson’s body and skull were filled with newspaper before his burial. That June, the teen’s parents won a court order to have him exhumed for a second autopsy, only to find that every organ from his pelvis to skull—brain, heart, lungs, and liver—were gone.
In a letter reportedly written to the family attorney, funeral director Antonio Harrington claimed the 17-year-old’s organs “were destroyed through natural process” due to the position of his body when he died. Harrington also claimed the funeral home never had Johnson’s organs, saying they were “discarded by the prosecutor before the body was sent back to Valdosta,” CNN reported.
The late teen’s mother, Jackie Johnson, told WALB that the latest reports have been sent to the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office in hopes that the controversial case will be re-opened.
[Featured image: Kendrick Johnson/Facebook]
*Editor’s Note*: Story has been updated to reflect Kendrick Johnson was from Valdosta, Georgia. The original report listed him from Atlanta.