Family of Teen Whose Body Was Stuffed With Newspaper Want New Investigation

Kendrick Johnson was found dead in a gym mat in January.

Posted: 10/11/2013 08:42 AM EDT

The parents of Kendrick Johnson, a 17-year-old Georgia teen whose body and head was stuffed with newspaper before he was buried, called for a new investigation into the death of their son Thursday.

“I feel outraged about them stuffing my son’s body with newspaper,” Jaquelyn Johnson said.

The family announced that Trayvon Martin's family attorney, Benjamin Crump, will be joining the efforts to reopen the investigation. Back in January, the teenager was found dead in a rolled-up gym mat at Lowndes County High School in Valdosta, Georgia.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation ruled Kendrick's death a freak accident and said that he fell headfirst into an upright mat and was trapped. Kendrick's parents were never settled with this explanation and won a court order to have a private autopsy for their son.

His body was exhumed and a second autopsy was performed in June by Dr. William R. Anderson. In the report, he concluded the teenager died from trauma from a fatal blow that appeared to be non-accidental, according to the Washington Post. His organs were also never returned to his body, and he was instead stuffed with newspaper, according to the second opinion.

CNN reports:

Two entities had custody of 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, which handled the teen's embalming and burial.

GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang told CNN that after the autopsy, "the organs were placed in Johnson's body, the body was closed, then the body was released to the funeral home." That's normal practice, Lang said.

The funeral home would not comment to CNN. But in a letter to the Johnsons' attorney, funeral home owner Antonio Harrington said his firm never received the teen's organs. Harrington wrote that the organs "were destroyed through natural process" due to the position of Kendrick Johnson's body when he died, and "discarded by the prosecutor before the body was sent back to Valdosta." A prosector dissects the body for pathological examination.

Read full story here.


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(Photo: courtesy of Johnson Family)

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