After the Johnson family placed a court order to have Kendrick Johnson’s body unearthed from a cemetery and re-examined by an independent pathologist, a second autopsy indicates that the 17-year-old was actually murdered.
Johnson’s body was discovered inside a rolled-up wrestling mat in Lowndes High School’s gymnasium in January. The initial report by the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office stated that the adolescent reached for a sneaker that fell into the center of the mat. When he reached for his shoe, he became trapped in the mat, which was propped upright behind bleachers, and reportedly died from being upside down for too long.
On the same day, the state of Georgia concluded Johnson’s death accidental. Johnson’s family disproved the reports, pointing out his bloated head and face during the first autopsy.
Dr. William R. Anderson offered new findings in August, according to the Daily News. He asserts there was “hemorrhaging on the right side of Johnson’s cheek.”
Despite receiving a transcript of Anderson’s findings, Lowndes County Coroner Bill Watson stands by the original autopsy, which reads as “unexplained,” non-accidental trauma caused by asphyxia.
The late teen’s parents have forwarded a copy of the new report to the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department Of Justice.
Although they explained that there isn’t enough indication of a civil rights violation to initiate a civil rights inspection, the department said it is working with U.S. Attorney Michael Moore while his office continues to “monitor and evaluate” the case and its subsequent autopsy report.
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