Feds to Open Investigation Into Case of Teen Found Dead in Gym Mat

Authorities want "the truth" in Kendrick Johnson's death.

Posted: 11/01/2013 10:18 AM EDT

Federal prosecutors will open their own investigation into the mysterious death of Kendrick Johnson, who was found rolled up in a gym mat at Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Georgia, in January. His family believes that his death was a murder and that someone is trying to cover up the case. 

"We're happy that a fresh pair of eyes is starting to look at Kendrick's case," Kendrick's father, Kenneth Johnson, told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday. "We're just waiting on the truth to really come out."

Michael Moore, the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, announced that he will make a "formal review" of Kendrick's death with the help of the FBI. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation had previously ruled Kendrick's death a freak accident and said that he fell headfirst into an upright mat and was trapped.

Kendrick's parents were not settled with this explanation and won a court order to have a private autopsy done for their son. A doctor who conducted the second autopsy in June concluded that the teenager died from trauma from a fatal blow that appeared to be non-accidental. His organs were also never returned to his body, and he was instead stuffed with newspaper.

Benjamin Crump, the family attorney for Trayvon Martin, joined the efforts to reopen the investigation for Kendrick earlier in October. 

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(Photo: Kendrick Johnson Family)

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