Family of Kendrick Johnson Calls for Release of Surveillance Video

The parents of the 17-year-old Georgia high school student say they believe their son was murdered.

Posted: 11/05/2013 02:01 PM EST

The family of Kendrick Johnson has renewed its call for release of surveillance videos in the death of the 17-year-old Georgia high school wrestler who died earlier this year in what his parents believe was a murder.

Johnson, a high school student in Valdosta, Georgia, was found on Jan. 11 stuck in an upright mat propped behind the bleachers inside his high school gym. The investigators in the local sheriff’s office concluded that his death was the result of a freak accident and ruled it as an accidental death.

The family is vehemently protesting that ruling.

“They say that Kendrick Johnson’s death was an accident and that’s completely preposterous,” said Benjamin Crump, the attorney for the Johnson family, in an interview with BET.com.

“We’re calling on the Lowndes County Sherriff’s office to release the surveillance video from that day,” Crump said. “As long as they insist on calling this an accidental death, we’ll never know what really happened. We believe he was murdered. This is a real life murder mystery.”

Crump added that the family is requesting a full coroner’s inquest from the local medical examiner’s office.

Meanwhile, United States Attorney Michael Moore recently announced he is conducting a formal investigation into Johnson's death, stating that there were a number of critical issues that remained unclear.

"What was the cause of death? Was his death the result of a crime?" Moore said at a press conference. "I will follow the facts wherever they lead. My objective is to discover the truth."

He added that there was a “sufficient basis” for a formal investigation. He noted that the initial autopsy indicated Johnson died as a result of "positional asphyxia." A second autopsy, however, listed a different cause of death, according to Moore. "There are several questions that must be answered or confirmed," he said.

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(Photo: Lowndes County High School via CNN)

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